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TRAGEDIES 
II 




Translated by 
FRANK JUSTUS MILLER 





Complete list of Loeb titles can be 
found at the end of each volume 



SENECA, Lucius Annaeus, born at 
Corduba (Cordova) c.5 or 4 B.C., of a 
noble and wealthy family, after an ailing 
childhood and youth at Rome in an aunt's 
care, was a victim of life-long neurosis but 
became famous in rhetoric, philosophy, 
money-making, and imperial service. 
After some disgrace during Claudius' reign 
he became tutor and then, in A. 0.54, 
advising minister to Nero, some of whose 
worst misdeeds he did not prevent. In- 
volved (innocently?) in a conspiracy, he 
killed himself by order in A. 0.65. Wealthy, 
he preached indifference to wealth; 
evader of pain and death, he preached 
scorn of both; and there were other 
contrasts between practice and principle. 
Wicked himself he was not. Of his works 
we have 10 mis-called 'Dialogi', seven 
being philosophical - on providence, 
steadfastness, happy life, anger, leisure, 
calmness of mind, shortness of life; 3 
other treatises (on money, benefits, and 
natural phenomena); 124 'Epistulae 
morales' all addressed to one person; a 
skit on the official deification of Claudius ; 
and 9 rhetorical tragedies (not for acting) 
on ancient Greek themes. Many 'Epistulae' 
and all his speeches are lost. Much of his 
thought is clever rather than deep, and his 
style is pointed rather than ample. 



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SENECA 
IX 

TRAGEDIES II 



78 



SENECA 

IN NINE VOLUMES 
IX 

TRAGEDIES II 

WITH AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION BY 

FRANK JUSTUS MILLER, 
PH.D., LL.D. 

PROFESSOR IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO 

AGAMEMNON THYESTES 
HERCULES OETAEUS PHOENISSAE 

OCTAVIA 




CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS 

HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS 

LONDON 

WILLIAM HEINEMANN LTD 

MCMLXXXVII 



American ISBN 0-674-99087-0 
British ISBN o 434 99078 7 



First printed 1917 
Reprinted and revised 1929 
Reprinted 1953, 1961, 1968 
Reprinted and revised 1987 



Printed in Great Britain by 
Richard Clay Ltd, Bungay, Suffolk 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY (1987) vi 

AGAMEMNON 1 

THYESTES 89 

HERCULES OETAEUS 183 

PHOENISSAE 343 

OCTAVIA 399 

APPENDIX. COMPARATIVE ANALYSES . 491 

INDEX 511 



SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY (1987) 

Editions 

I. C. Giardina: Bologna, 1966 

Otto Zwierlein: OCT, Oxford, 1986 (incl. Oetaeus and Octaria) 
R. J. Tarrant: Agamemnon (with commentary), Cambridge, 1976 
R. J. Tarrant: Thyestes (with commentary), APA Texts, Atlanta, 

1985 

Index Verborum 

W. A. Oldfather, A. S. Pease, H. V. Canter: Urbana, 1918 

Translations 

Thomas Newton (1581): repr. with introd. by T. S. Eliot, Bloom- 

ington, 1966 
E. F. Wading: Four tragedies (incl. Thyestes) and Octaria (Penguin 

Classics), Harmondsworth, 1966 

Studies 

B. Axelson: Korniptelenkult (textual study of the Oetaeus), Lund, 
1967 

T. S. Eliot: 'Seneca in Elizabethan Translation,' Collected Essays 
65-105, London, 1951 

C. J. Herington: 'Senecan Tragedy,' Anon 5 (1966) 4224-71 

C. J. Herington: Camb. Hist. Class. Lit. II (1982) 51 1-532 (includes 

excursus on Octaria) 

L. Herrmann: Le Theatre de Seneque, Paris 1924 
B. L. Marti: 'Seneca's Tragedies: A New Interpretation,' TAP A 76 

(1945)216-245 
R. H. Philp: 'The Manuscript Tradition of Seneca's Tragedies,' 

C 18 (1968) 150-179 
Bernd Seidensticker: Die Gesprdchsrerdichtung in den Tragodien 

Senecas, Heidelberg, 1969 

Otto Zwierlein: Die Rezitationsdramen Senecas, Meisenheim, 1966 
Otto Zwierlein: Prolegomena c.w einer kritischen Ausgabe der 

Tragodien Senecas, Mainz, 1984 

Bibliographical 

Michael Coffey: 'Seneca, Tragedies 1922-55,' Lustrum 2 (1957) 

113-186 
E. Lefevre (ed.): Senecas Tragodien, Darmstadt, 1972, 583-592 

(from 1956 onward) 



VI 



AGAMEMNON 



DRAMATIS PERSONAE 

AGAMEMNON, king oj Argos, and leader of all the Greeks in 
their war against Troy. 

GHOST OF THYESTES, returned to earth to urge on his son to the 
vengeance which he was born to accomplish. 

AEGISTHUS, son of Thyeste* by an incestuous union with his 
daughter ; paramour of Clytemntstra. 

CLYTEMNESTRA, wife of Agamemnon, who has been plotting 
with Aegisthus against her husband, in his absence at 
Troy. 

CHORUS of Argive women. 

EURYBATES, messenger of Agamemnon. 

CASSANDRA, daughter of Priam , captive of Agamemnon. 

KLECTRA, daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. 

STROPHIUS, king of Phocis. 

ORESTES, son of Agamemnon (persona muta). 

PYLADES, son of Strophius (persona muta). 

BAND of captive Trojan women. 

THE SCENE is laid partly within and partly without the 
palace of Agamemnon at Argos or Mycenae, on the day of 
the return of the king from his long absence at Troy, begin- 
ning in the period of darkness just preceding the dawn. 



ARGUMENT 

THE blood -feud between Atreus and Thyestes was not 
ended with the terrible vengeance which Atreus wreaked 
upon his brother. It was yet in fate that Thyestes should 
live to beget upon his own daughter a son, Aegistfius, who 
should slay Atreus and bring ruin and death upon the 
great Atridcs, Agamemnon. 

The Trojan war is done. And now the near approach 
of the victorious king, bringing his captives and treasure 
home to Argos. has been announced. But little does he 

O ' 

dream to what a home he is reluming. For Clytemnestra, 
enraged at Agamemnon because he had sacrificed her 

O O ' 

daughter Iphigenia at Aulis to appease the winds, and 
full of jealousy because he brings Cassandra as her rival 
home, estranged also by the long-continued absence of her 
lord, but most estranged by her own guilty union with 
Aegisthus, is now plotting to slay her husband on his 
return, gaining thus at once revenge and safety from 
his wrath. 



AGAMEMNON 

THYESTIS VMBRA 

OPACA linquens Ditis inferni loca 

adsum profundo Tartar! emissus specu, 

incertus utras oderim sedes magis 

fugio Thyestes inferos, superos fugo. 

en horret animus et pavor membra excutit : 

video paternos, immo fraternos lares. 

hoc est vetustum Pelopiae limen domus ; 

hinc auspicari regium capiti decus 

mos est Pelasgis, hoc sedent alti toro 

quibus superba sceptra gestantur manu, 10 

locus hie habendae curiae hie epulis locus. 

Libet reverti. nonne vel tristes lacus 
incolere satius, nonne custodem Stygis 
trigemina nigris colla iactantem iubis ? 
ubi ille celeri corpus evinctus rotae 
in se refertur, ubi per adversum irritus 
redeunte totiens luditur saxo labor, 
ubi tondet ales avida fecundum iecur, , 

et inter undas fervida exustus siti 
aquas fugaces ore decepto appetit 20 

poenas daturus caelitum dapibus graves, 
sed ille nostrae pars quota est culpae senex ? 
reputemus omnes quos ob infandas manus 
4 



AGAMEMNON 

GHOST OF THYESTES 

LEAVING the murky regions of infernal Dis, I come,, 
sent forth from Tartarus' deep pit, doubting which 
world I hate the more Thyestes flees the lower, the 
upper he puts to flight. Lo, my spirit shudders, my 
limbs quake with fear ; I see my father's, nay more, 
my brother's house. This is the ancient seat of 
Pelops' line ; here 'tis the custom of the Pelasgians 
to crown their kings ; on this throne sit high lords 
whose proud hands wield the sceptre ; here is their 
council-chamber here they feast. 1 

12 Fain would I turn me back. Is it not better to 
haunt even the gloomy pools, better to gaze upon 
the guardian of the Styx, tossing his three-fold neck 
with sable mane ? where one, 2 his body bound on 
the swift-flying wheel, is whirled back upon himself; 
where vain uphill toil 3 is mocked as the stone rolls 
ever backward ; where a greedy bird tears at the 
liver 4 constantly renewed ; and the old man, 5 thirst- 
parched midst waters, catches at fleeing waves with 
cheated lips, doomed to pay dearly for the banquet 6 
of the gods. But how small a part of my offence is 
his ? Let us take count of all whom for their 

1 He is reminded of his own horrid banquet in this very 
place. 

a Ixion. 3 Of Sisyphus. 4 Of Tityus. 

6 Tantalus. 6 See Index a.v. "Pelops." 

5 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

quaesitor urna Cnosius versat reos : 
vincam Thyestes sceleribus cunctos meis. 
a fratre vincar, liberis plenus tribus 
in me sepultis ; viscera exedi mea. 

Nee hactenus Fortuna maculavit patrera, 
sed maius aliud ausa commisso scelus 
natae nefandos petere concubitus iubet. 30 

non pavidus hausi dicta, sed cepi nefas. 
ergo ut per onines liberos irem parens, 
coacta fatis nata fert uterum gravem, 
me patre dignum. versa natura est retro ; 
avo parentem, pro nefas ! patri virum, 
natis nepotes miscui nocti diem. 

Sed sera tandem respicit fessos malis 
post fata demum sortis incertae fides ; 
rex ille regum, ductor Agamemnon ducum, 
cuius secutae mille vexillum rates 40 

Iliaca velis maria texerunt suis, 
post decima Phoebi lustra devicto Ilio 
adest daturus coniugi iugulum suae. 
iam iam natabit sanguine alterno domus : 
enses secures tela, divisum gravi 
ictu bipennis regium video caput ; 
iam scelera prope sunt, iam dolus, caedes, cruor 
parantur epulae. causa natalis tui, 
Aegisthe, venit. quid pudor vultus gravat? 
quid dextra dubio trepida consilio labat ? 50 

quid ipse temet consulis, torques, rogas, 
an deceat hoc te ? respice ad matrem ; decet. 

1 Minos. " i.e. Thyestes. 

3 i e. Thyestes acted by direction of an oracle, which de- 
clared that by this means he might gain vengeance on 
Atreus' line. 

4 It will not be his branch of the family that shall suffer 
this time. 

6 



AGAMEMNON 

impious deeds the Cretan judge 1 with whirling urn 
condemns ; all of them by my crimes shall I, Thyes- 
tes, conquer. But by my brother shall I be con- 
quered, full of my three sons buried in me ; my own 
Hesh have 1 consumed. 

23 Nor thus far only has Fortune defiled the sire, 2 
but, daring greater crime than that committed, she 
bade him seek his daughter's incestuous embrace. 
Fearlessly and to the dregs did I drain her bidding, 
but 'twas an impious thing I did. And therefore, that 
a father's power might extend o'er all his children, 
my daughter, forced by fate, 3 bore child to me, wor- 
thy to call me father. Nature has been confounded ; 
father with grandsire, yea, monstrous ! husband with 
father, grandsons with sons, have I confused and 
day with night. 

37 But at length, though late and coming after 
death, the promise of dim prophecy is fulfilled to me, 
worn with my woes ; that king of kings, that leader 
of leaders, Agamemnon, following whose banner a 
thousand ships once covered the Trojan waters with 
their sails, now that, after ten courses of Phoebus, 
Ilium is o'erthrown, now is he near at hand to give 
his throat into his wife's power. Now, now shall this 
house swim in blood other than mine ; 4 swords, 
axes, spears, a king's head cleft with the axe's heavy 
stroke, I see ; now crimes are near, now treachery, 
slaughter, gore feasts are being spread. The author 
of thy birth has come, Aegisthus. 5 Why dost hang 
thy head in shame ? Why doth thy trembling hand, 
doubtful of purpose, fall ? Why dost take counsel 
with thyself, why turn the question o'er and o'er 
whether this deed become thee ? Think on thy 
mother ; it becomes thee well. 

5 These and the remaining lines of the paragraph are 
addressed to Aegisthus, seemingly as if he were present. 

7 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Sed cur repente noctis aestivae vices 
hiberna longa spatia producunt mora, 
aut quid cadentes detinet stellas polo ? 
Phoebum moramur? redde iam mundo diem. 



CHORVS 

O regnorum magnis fallax 
Fortuna bonis, in praecipiti 
dubioque locas nimis excelsos. 
numquam placidam sceptra quietem 60 

certumve sui tenuere diem ; 
alia ex aliis cura fatigat 
vexatque animos nova tempestas. 
non sic Libycis syrtibus aequor 
furit alternos volvere fluctus, 
non Eu). ini turget ab imis 
commota vadis unda nivali 
vicina polo, 

ubi caeruleis immunis aquis 
lucida versat plaustra Bootes, 70 

ut praecipites regum casus 
Fortuna rotat. metui cupiunt 
metuique timent, non nox illis 
alma recessus praebet tutos, 
non curarum somnus domitor 
pectora solvit. 

Quas non arces scelus alternum 
dedit in praeceps ? impia quas non 
arma fatigant ? iura pudorque 
et coniugii sacrata fides 80 

fugiunt aulas. sequitur tristis 
sanguinolenta Bellona manu 
quaeque superbos urit Erinys, 



AGAMEMNON 

53 But why suddenly is the summer night pro- 
longed to winter's span ? or what holds the setting 
stars still in the sky? Are we delaying Phoebus? 
[Preparing to go.~\ Give back the day now to the 
universe. [Ghost vanishes.] 

CHORUS 

O Fortune, who dost bestow the throne's high 
boon \yith mocking hand, in dangerous and doubtful 
state thou settest the too exalted. Never have 
sceptres obtained calm peace or certain tenure ; care 
on care weighs them down, and ever do fresh storms 
vex their souls. Not so on Libyan quicksands does 
the sea rage and roll up wave on wave ; not so, 
stirred from their lowest depths, surge Euxine's 
waters, hard by the icy pole, where, undipped in the 
azure, waves, 1 Bootes follows his shining wain, as 
does Fortune roll on the headlong fates of kings. 
To be feared they long, and to be feared they dread ; 
kindly i ight gives them no safe retreat, and sleep, 
which conquers care, soothes not their breasts. 

77 What palace has not crime answering crime 2 
hurled headlong ? What palace do impious arms not 
vex? Law, shame, the sacred bonds of marriage, 
all flee from courts. Hard in pursuit comes grim 
Bellona of the bloody hand, and she who frets the 

1 i.e. the Northern constellations never set beneath the 
sea. 

2 i.e. waged by one member of a royal house against another. 

9 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

iiimias semper comitata domos, 
quas in plarmm quaelibet hora 
tulit ex alto. 

Licet arma vacent cessentque doli, 
sidunt ipso pondere magna 
ceditque oneri Fortuna suo. 
vela secundis inflata notis 
ventos nimium timuere suos, 
nubibus ipsis inserta caput 
turris pluvio vapulat Austro, 
densasque nemus spargens umbras 
annosa videt robora frangi ; 
feriunt celsos fulmina colles, 
corpora morbis maiora patent 
et cum in pastus armenta vagos 
villa currant, placet in vulnus 
maxima cervix. 100 

Quidquid in altum Fortuna tulit, 
ruitura levat. modicis rebus 
longius aevum est ; felix mediae 
quisquis turbae sorte quietus 
aura stringit litora tuta 
timidusque mari credere cumbam 
remo terras propiore legit. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Quid, segnis anime, tuta consilia expetis? 
quid fluctuaris ? clausa iam melior via est. 
licuit pudicos coniugis quondam toros 1 1 

et sceptra casta vidua tutari fide ; 
periere mores ius decus pietas fides 
et qui redire cum perit nescit pudor. 
da frena et omnem prona ncquitiam incita ; 
per scelera semper sceleribus tutum est iter. 
10 



AGAMEMNON 

proud, Erinys, forever dogging homes too high, 
which any hour brings low from high estate. 

87 Though arms be idle and treachery give o'er, 
great kingdoms sink of their own weight, and For- 
tune gives way 'neath the burden of herself. Sails 
swollen with favouring breezes fear blasts too 
strongly theirs ; the tower which rears its head to 
the very clouds is beaten by rainy Auster ; the 
grove, spreading dense shade around, sees ancient 
oak-trees riven ; 'tis the high hills that the lightnings 
strike ; large bodies are more to disease exposed, 
and while common herds stray o'er vagrant pastures, 
the head highest upreared is marked for death. 

101 Whatever Fortune has raised on high, she lifts 
but to bring low. Modest estate has longer life ; 
then happy he whoe'er, content with the common 
lot, with safe breeze hugs the shore, and, fearing to 
trust his skiff to the wider sea, with unambitious oar 
keeps close to land. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Why, sluggish soul, dost safe counsel seek ? Why 
waver ? Already the better way is closed. Once 
thou mightest have guarded thy chaste bed and thy 
widowed sceptre with pure, wifely faith; gone are 
good fashions, right doing, honour, piety, faith, and 
modesty, which, once 'tis gone, knows no return. 
Fling loose the reins and, forward bent, rouse onward 
all iniquity ; through crime ever is the safe way for 

11 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

tecum ipsa nunc evolve femineos dolos, 

quod ulla coniunx perfida atque impos sui 

amore caeco, quod novercales manus 

ausae, quod ardens impia virgo face, 

Phasiaca fugiens regna Thessalica trabe ; 120 

ferrum, venena ; vel Mycenaeas domos 

coniuncta socio profuge furtiva rate. 

quid timida loqueris furta et exilium et fugas ? 

soror ista fecit ; te decet maius nefas. 



NVTRIX 



Regina Danaum et inclitum Ledae genus, 
quid tacita versas quidve consilii impotens 
tumido feroces impetus animo geris ? 
licet ipsa sileas, totus in vultu est dolor, 
proin quidquid est, da tempus ac spatium tibi : 
quod ratio non quit saepe sanavit mora. ISO 



CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Maiora cruciant quam ut moras possim pati ; 
flammae medullas et cor exurunt meum, 
mixtus dolori subdidit stimulos timor, 
invidia pulsat pectus ; hinc animum iugo 
premit cupido turpis et vinci vetat. 
et inter istas mentis obsessae faces, 
fessus quidem et devinctus et pessumdatus, 
pudor rebellat. fluctibus variis agor, 
ut cum hinc profundum ventus, hinc aestus rapit, 
incerta dubitat unda cui cedat malo. 1 40 

proinde omisi regimen e manibus meis 
quocumque me ira, quo dolor, quo spes feret, 



1 Medea. * Helen. 

12 



AGAMEMNON 

crime. Devise now in thine own heart a woman's 
wiles, what any faithless wife, beside herself with 
blind passion, what step-mother's hands have dared, 
or what she dared, that maid l ablaze with impious 
love, who fled her Phasian realm in that Thessalian 
bark ; dare sword, dare poison ; or else flee from 
Mycenae with the partner of thy guilt, in stealthy 
bark. But why timidly talk of stealth, of exile, and 
of flight ? Such things thy sister 2 did ; thee some 
greater crime becomes. 

NURSE 

Queen of the Greeks, Leda's illustrious child, 
what ponderest thou in silence, what mad deed, 
ungoverned in thy purpose, art planning with rest- 
less soul? Though thou say no word, thy face 
discovers all thy anguish. Wherefore, whate'er it be, 
give thyself time and room ; what reason cannot, 
delay has ofttimes cured. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Passions rack me too strong to endure delay ; 
flames are burning my very marrow and my heart ; 
here fear 8 blent with anguish plies the spur, and 
my breast throbs with jealousy; 4 there base love 
forces its yoke upon my mind and forbids me to 
give way. And midst such fires that beset my soul, 
shame, weary indeed and conquered and utterly 
undone, still struggles on. 5 By shifting floods am 
I driven, as when here wind, there tide harries the 
deep, and the waters halt uncertain to which foe 
they will yield. Wherefore I have let go the rudder 
from my hands where wrath, where smart, where 

3 i.e. of Agamemnon's vengeance. 

4 Of Cassandra. _, 6 i.e. against lust. 

IS 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

hue ire pergam ; fluctibus dedimus ratem. 
ubi animus errat, optimum est casum sequi. 

NVTR1X 

Caeca est temeritas quae petit casum ducem. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Cui ultima est fortuna, quid dubiam timet? 

NVTRIX 
Tuta est latetque culpa, si pateris, tua. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Perlucet omne regiae vitium domus. 

NVTRIX 
Piget prioris et novum crimen struis ? 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Res est profecto stulta nequitiae modus. 150 

NVTRIX 

Quod metuit auget qui scelus scelere obruit. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Et ferrum et ignis saepe medicinae loco est. 

NVTRIX 

Extrema primo nemo temptavit loco. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Rapienda rebus in malis praeceps via est. 



AGAMEMNON 

hope shall carry me, there will J go ; to the waves 
have I given my bark. Where reason fails, 'tis best 
to follow chance. 

NURSE 

Blind is he and rash who follows chance. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

When fortune is at its worst, why fear its hazard ? 

NURSE 
Safe is thy sin and hidden, if thou allow it so. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Open to view is a royal house's every sin. 

NURSE 

Dost repent the old crime, yet plan the new ? 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Surely 'tis folly to stop midway in sin. 

NURSE 

Whoso piles crime on crime, makes greater what 
ne dreads. 1 

CLYTEM-NESTRA 

Both knife and cautery oft take the place of drugs. 

NURSE 
Desperate remedies no one tries at first. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

In midst of ills, we must snatch at headlong ways. 

1 i.e. the penalty. 

15 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

NVTRIX 

At te reflectat coniugi nomen sacrum. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Decem per annos vidua respiciam virum ? 

NVTRIX 

Meminisse debes sobolis ex illo tuae. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Equidem et iugales filiae memini faces 
et generum Achillem ; praestitit matri fidem ' 

NVTRIX 

Redemit ilia classis immotae moras 160 

et maria pigro fixa languore impulit. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Pudet doletque Tyndaris, caeli genus, 
lustrale class! Doricae peperi caput ! 
revolvit animus virginis thalamos meae 
quos ille dignos Pelopia fecit domo, 
cum stetit ad aras ore sacrifice pater 
quam nuptiales ! horruit Calchas suae 
responsa vocis et recedentes focos. 
o scelei'a semper sceleribus vincens domus ! 
cruore ventos emimus, bellum nece ! 170 

sed vela pariter mille fecerunt rates ? 
non est soluta prospero classis deo : 
eiecit Aulis impias portu rates, 
sic auspicatus bella non melius gerit. 
amore captae captus, immotus prece 

16 



AGAMEMNON 

NURSE 

But let the hallowed name of wedlock turn thee 
back. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

For ten years widowed, shall I still think on 
husband ? 

NURSE 

Thine offspring of him thou shouldst remember. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

I do remember my daughter's l wedding fires, my 
son-in-law, Achilles ; true faith he 2 showed a mother ! 

NURSE 

She freed our becalmed fleet from delay, and 
roused the sluggish sea from its deep repose. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Oh, shame ! oh, anguish ! I, child of Tyndarus, of 
heavenly lineage, have borne a sacrifice for the 
Grecian fleet ! Once more in memory I see my 
daughter's wedding rites, which he made worthy of 
Pelops' house, when, with prayer on lip, the father 
stood before the altars, how fit for nuptials ! Calchas 
shuddered at his own oracles and at the recoiling 
altar-fires. O house that ever o'ertops crime with 
crime ! With blood we purchased winds, and war with 
murder ! But, say you, by this means a thousand 
ships spread sail together ? 'Twas by no favouring 
god the fleet was freed; no! Aulis from port drave 
forth the impious ships. Thus beginning, not more 
happily did he wage the war. With love of a captive 

1 Iphigenia. z i.e. Agamemnon. 

17 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Zminthea tenuit spolia Phoebei senis, 

ardore sacrae virgin is iam turn furens. 

non ilium Achilles flexit indomitus minis, 

non ille solus fata qui mundi videt, 

(in nos fidelis augur, in captas levis), 180 

non populus aeger et relucentes rogi. 

inter ruentis Graeciae stragem ultimam 

sine hoste victus marcet ac Veneri vacat 

reparatque amores ; neve desertus foret 

a paelice umquani barbara caelebs torus, 

ablatam Achilli diligit Lyrnesida, 

nee rapere puduit e sinu avulsam viri 

en Paridis hostein ! nunc novum vulnus gerens 

amore Phrygiae vatis incensus furit, 

et post tropaea Troica ac versum Ilium 190 

captae maritus remeat et Priami gener ! 

Accingere, anime ; bella non levia apparas. 
scelus occupandum est. pigra, quem expectas diem ? 
Pelopia Phrygiae sceptra dum teneant nurus ? 
an te morantur virgines viduae domi 
patrique Orestes similis ? horum te mala 
ventura moveant, turbo quis rerum imminet. 
quid, misera, cessas ? en adest natis tuis 
furens noverca. per tuum, si aliter nequit, 
latus exigatur ensis et perimat duos. 200 

misce cruorem, perde pereundo virum ; 

mors misera non est common cum quo velis. 

. 

^Chryses, father of Chrysels. 

2 Cassandra, his second infatuation. 8 Calchas. 

4 i.e. Agamemnon believed him when he demanded the 
death of Iphigenia, but not when he required the return of 
Brisei's. 

18 



AGAMEMNON 

smitten, unmoved by prayer, he held as spoil the 
child of Smynthean Apollo's aged priest, 1 then as 
now mad with passion for a sacred maid. 2 Neither 
Achilles, unmoved by threats, could bend him, nor 
he 3 who alone sees the secrets of the universe, (for 
me and mine sure seer, for slave-girls of no weight), 4 
nor the plague-smit people, nor the blazing pyres. 
Midst the death-struggle of falling Greece, conquered, 
but by no foe, he languishes, has leisure for love, 
seeks new amours ; and, lest his widowed couch ever 
be free from some barbaric mistress, he lusted for the 
Lyrnesian maid, 5 Achilles' spoil, nor blushed to bear 
her away, torn from her lord's embrace he, the 
enemy of Paris ! Now, wounded afresh, he rages 
with passion for the inspired Phrygian maid ; 6 and 
after Troy's conquest, after Ilium's overthrow, he 
comes back home, a captive's husband and Priam's 
son-in-law ! 

193 Now gird thee up, my soul ; no trivial strife art 
thou preparing. Crime must be forestalled. 7 Slug- 
gish, what day dost thou await? Till Phrygian 
wives shall wield our Pelops' sceptre ? Do the virgin 
daughters of thy house and Orestes, image of his 
father, hold thee back ? Nay, 'tis the ills that 
that threaten them that should urge thee on ; o'er 
them a storm of woes hangs lowering. Why, wretched 
woman, dost thou hesitate ? For thy children a mad 
step-dame is at hand. Through thine own side, if 
not otherwise it can be done, let the sword be driven, 
and so slay two. Mingle thy blood with his, in thy 
death destroy thy husband ; death hath no pang when 
shared with whom thou wouldest. 

6 BriseTs. 6 Cassandra. 

7 i.e. I must take revenge on Agamemnon before he does 
the like to me. 

19 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

NVTRIX 

Regina, frena temet et siste impetus 
et quanta temptes cogita ; victor venit 
Asiae ferocis, ultor Europae, trahit 
^aptiva Pergama et diu victos Phrygas. 
hunc fraude nunc conaris et furto aggredi, 
quern non Achilles ense violavit fero, 
quamvis procacem torvus armasset manuin, 
non melior Aiax morte decreta furens, 210 

non sola Danais Hector et bello mora, 
non tela Paridis certa, non Memnon niger, 
non Xanthus armis corpora immixtis gerens 
fluctusque Simois caede purpureos agens, 
non nivea proles Cycnus aequorei dei, 
non bellicoso Thressa cum Rheso phalanx, 
non picta pharetras et securigera manu 
peltata Amazon ? hunc domi reducem paras 
mactare et aras caede maculare impia ? 
victrix inultum Graecia hoc facinus feret ? 220 

equos et arma classibusque horrens fretuni 
propone et alto sanguine exundans solum 
et tota captae fata Dardaniae domus 
regesta Danais. coinprime adfectus truces 
mentemque tibimet ipsa pacifica tuam. 



AEO1STHVS 

Quod tempus animo semper ac mente horrui 
adest profecto, rebus extremum meis. 

1 i.e. Ajax son of Telanion in contradistinction to Ajax the 
son of Oileus, called Ajax " the Less." 



AGAMEMNON 

NURSE 

O Queen, restrain thyself, check thine impetuous 
wrath and think what thou art daring ; the conqueror 
of wild Asia is at hand, Europe's avenger, dragging 
in triumph captive Pergama and the Phrygians, long 
since subdued. Against him now with guile and 
stealth dost thou essay to fight, whom Achilles with 
his savage sword hurt not, though in grim wrath he 
armed his insolent hand, nor the better Ajax l raging 
and bent on death, nor Hector, sole bulwark against 
the warring Greeks, nor the sure-aimed shafts of 
Paris, nor swarthy Memnon, nor Xanthus, rolling 
down corpses and arms commingled, nor Simois, its 
waves running red with blood, nor Cycnus, snowy 2 
offspring of the Ocean-god, nor warlike Rhesus and 
his Thracian horde, nor the Amazon, with her painted 
quiver, battle-axe in hand, and crescent shield ? 
Him, home-returning, dost thou prepare to slay and 
to defile thine altars with slaughter impious ? Will 
victorious Greece leave such a deed unavenged? 
Horses and arms, the sea studded with ships, set 
these before thine eyes, the ground flowing with 
streams of blood, and the whole fate of the captured 
house of Dardanus turned 'gainst the Greeks. 3 
Control thy fierce passions, and do thou thyself set 
thine own soul at peace. [Exit. 

[Enter AEGISTHUS.] 

AEGISTHUS [in soliloquy] 

The hour which always in my heart and soul I 
dreaded is here indeed, the hour of fate for me. 

' 2 He was changed into a snow-white swan. 
3 i.e. Agamemnon's death will be as terribly avenged as 
was the injury to Helen. 

21 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

quid terga vertis, anime ? quid primo impetu 

deponis arma ? crede perniciem tibi 

et dira saevos fata moliri deos. 230 

oppone cunctis vile suppliciis caput, 

ferrumque et ignes pectore adverse excipe, 

Aegisthe ; non est poena sic nato mori. 

Tu nos pericli socia, tu, Leda sata, 
comitare tantum ; sanguinern reddet tibi 
ignavus iste ductor ac fortis pater, 
sed quid trementes circuit pallor genas 
iacensque vultu languido optutus stupet ? 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Amor iugalis vincit ac flectit retro : 
referamur 1 illuc, unde non decuit prius 240 

abire ; vel 2 nunc casta repetatur fides, 
nam sera numquam est ad bonos mores via : 
quern paenitet peccasse paene est innocens. 

AEGISTHVS 

Quo raperis amens ? credis aut speras tibi 
Agamemnonis fidele coniugium ? ut nihil 
subesset animo quod graves faceret metus, 
tamen superba et impotens flatu nimis 
Fortuna magno spiritus tumidos daret. 
gravis ille sociis stante adhuc Troia fuit ; 
quid rere ad animum suapte natura trucem 250 

I'roiam addidisse ? rex Mycenarum fuit, 
veniet tyrannus ; prospera animos efferunt. 8 
effusa circa paelicum quanto venit 

1 referemus E: Leo referemur : Gronovius, followed by 
Richter, referamur: remeemus A. 

2 So Peiper, following Gronovius : Leo with AfSS. sed. 

3 So the A1SS. : Leo, following Buecheler, eflerant 

2 



AGAMEMNON 

Why, soul, dost fear to face it ? Why at the first 
onslaught dost lay down thy arms ? Be sure that for 
thee destruction and dread doom the pitiless gods 
prepare. Then set thy vile life to face all punish- 
ments, and with confronting breast welcome both 
sword and flame, Aegisthus ; for one so born, 'tis no 
penalty to die. 

[To CLYTEMNESTRA] 

234 Thou partner of my peril, thou, Leda's daughter, 
be but my comrade still ; then blood for blood shall 
he repay to thee, this cowardly warrior and valiant 
sire. But why does pallor o'erspread thy ^trembling 
cheeks, and why in thy listless face is thine eye so 
dull and drooping ? 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Love for my husband conquers and turns me back. 
Return we thither whence 'twere well never to have 
come away. E'en now let us reseek purity and 
truth, for never too late is trod the path to honesty ; 
whoso repents his sin is well-nigh innocent. 

AEGISTHUS 

Whither art borne, mad one ? Dost believe or hope 
that Agamemnon is still true to his marriage vows ? 
Though there were nought in thine own heart to 
rouse grave fears, still would his arrogant, immoderate, 
o'er-inflated fortune swell his pride. Harsh to his allies 
was he while Troy still stood ; what thinkest thou 
Troy x has added to a spirit by its own nature fierce ? 
Mycenae's king he was ; he will come back her 
tyrant ; prosperity urges pride beyond itself. With 
what magnificence the surging throng of- harlots 

1 i.e. the fall of Troy. 

23 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

turba apparatu ! sola sed turba eminet 
tenetque regem famula veridici del. 
feresne thalami victa consortem tui ? 
at ilia nolet. ultimumest nuptae malum 
palam mariti possidens paelex domum. 
nee regna socium ferre nee taedae sciunt. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Aegisthe, quid me rursus in praeceps agis 260 
iramque flammis iam residentem incitas ? 
permisit aliquid victor in captam sibi ; 
nee coniugem hoc respicere nee dominam decet. 
lex alia solio est, alia privato in toro. 
quid quod severas ferre me leges viro 
non patitur animus turpis admissi memor ? 
det ille veniam facile cui venia est opus. 

AEGISTHVS 

Ita est ? pacisci mutuam veniam licet? 
ignota tibi sunt iura regnorum aut nova ? 
nobis maligni iudices, aequi sibi 270 

id esse regni maximum pignus putant, 
si quidquid aliis non licet solis licet. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Ignovit Helenae ; iuncta Menelao redit 
quae Europam et Asiam paribus afflixit malis. 

AEGISTHVS 

Sed nulla Atriden Venere furtiva abstulit 
nee cepit animum coniugi obstrictum suae. 

24 



AGAiMEMNON 

comes ! But-one stands out among the throng and 
holds the king in thrall, the handmaid l of the fate- 
revealing god. 2 Wilt thou give up and endure a 
sharer in thy marriage bed ? But she will not. A 
wife's utmost of woe is a mistress openly queening 
it in her husband's house. Nor throne nor bed can 
brook a partnership. 

CLY3TEMNESTRA 

Aegisthus, why dost thou again drive me headlong, 
and fan to flame my wrath already cooling ? Suppose 
the victor has allowed himself ,some liberty toward a 
captive maid ; 'tis meet neither* for wife nor mistress 
to take iiote.of this. There is one law for thrones, 
one for the private bed. What ? Does my own 
heart, itself conscious of base guilt, suffer me to pass 
harsh judgment on my husband? Let her forgive 
freely who forgiveness needs. 

AEGISTHUS 

Sayst thou so ? Canst bargain for mutual forgive- 
ness? Are the rights of kings unknown to thee or 
strange ? To us harsh judges, partial to themselves, 
they deem this the greatest pledge of kingship, if 
whate'er to others is unlawful is lawful to them 
alone. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

He pardoned Helen; joined to her Menelaiis she 
returns, who Europe and Asia to like ruin dashed. 

AEGISTHUS 

Aye, but no woman with stealthy love has stolen 
Atrides and captured his heart close-barred against 
1 Cassandra. * Apollo. 

25 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

iam crimen ille quaerit et causas parat. 

nil esse crede turpe commissum tibi ; 

quid honesta prodest vita, flagitio vacans ? 

ubi dominus odit fit nocens, non quaeritur. 280 

Spartamne repetes spreta et Eurotan tuum 

patriasque sedes profuga ? non dant exitum 

repudia regum. spe metus falsa levas. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Delicta novit nemo nisi fidus mea. 

AEGISTHVS 

Non intrat umquam regium limen fides. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Opibus merebor, ut fidem pretio obligem. 

AEGISTHVS 

Pretio parata vincitur pretio fides. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Surgit residuus pristinae mentis pudor , 
quid obstrepis ? quid voce blandiloqua mala 
consilia dictas ? scilicet iiubet tibi, 290 

regum relicto rege, generosa exuli ? 

AEGISTHVS 

Et cur Atrida videor inferior tibi, 
natus Thyestae ? 

26 



AGAMEMNON 

his wife. 1 Already thy lord seeks charge against 
thee, intends cause of strife. Suppose no baseness 
has been done by thee ; what boots an honest life 
and sinless? Whom a master hates is condemned of 
guilt unheard. Spurned away, wilt thou go back to 
Sparta and thy Eurotas, wilt flee to thy father's 
house ? The rejected of kings have no escape. With 
false hope dost thou relieve thy fears. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

None knows my guilt save one faithful friend. 

AEGISTHUS 

Faith never crosses the threshold of a king. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

With wealth will I purchase, with bribes will I 
bind faith. 

AEGISTHUS 

Faith gained by bribes is overcome by bribes. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

The remnant of my old time chastity revives ; why 
dost thou cry against it ? Why with cozening words 
dost give me evil counsel ? Deserting the king of 
kings, shall I wed with thee, a high-born woman 
with an outcast ? 

AEGISTHUS 

And wherefore less than Atreus' son do I seem to 
thee, who am Thyestes' son ? 

1 i.e. in Menelaiis' case his heart was not already hardened 
against his wife by another mistress, as is the case with 
Agamemnon. 

27 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Si parum est, adde et nepos. 

AEGISTHVS 

Auctore Phoebo gignor ; baud generis pudet. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Phoebum nefandae stirpis auctorem vocas, 
quern nocte subita frena revocantem sua 
caelo expulistis ? quid deos probro addimus ? 
subripere doctus fraude geniales toros, 
quern Venere tantum scimus inlicita virum, 
facesse propere ac dedecus nostrae domus 300 

asporta ab oculis ; haec vacat regi ac viro. 

AEGISTHVS 

Exilia mihi sunt baud nova, assuevi malis. 
si tu imperas, regina, non tantum domo 
Argisve cedo : nil moror iussu tuo 
aperire ferro pectus aerumnis grave. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Siquidem hoc cruenta Tyndaris fieri sinam. 
quae iuncta peccat debet et culpae fidem. 
secede mecum potius, ut rerum statum 
dubium ac minacem iuncta consilia explicent. 

CHORVS 

Canite, o pubes inclita, Pboebum 1 310 

tibi festa caput 
turba coronat, tibi virgineas, 

laurum quatiens, 

28 



AGAMEMNON 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

If that is not enough, say grandson, too. 

AEGISTHUS 

Phoebus was the source of my begetting ; mv 
birth shames me not. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Dost thou name Phoebus as source of an inces- 
tuous birth, whom, calling back his steeds in sudden 
night, you l drove from heaven ? Why besmirch the 
gods ? Thou, trained by guile to steal the marriage 
bed, whom we know only as man of unlawful love, 
depart at once, take from my sight the infamy of 
our house ; this home is waiting for its king and lord. 

AEGISTHUS 

Exile is not new to me ; I am used to woe. If 
thou commandest, O queen, not alone from home 
and Argos do I flee: I am ready at thy bidding to 
plunge sword into my heart, o'erweighed with grief. 

CLYTEMNESTRA [aside] 

Yet, should I, cruel daughter of Tyndareus, let 
this be done. 

[To AEGISTHUS.] 

Who jointly sins owes also faith to crime. Come 
thou with me, that the dark and threatening state 

* O 

of our affairs joint plans may set in order. [Exeunt. 

CHORUS 

Sing ye, O maids renowned, of Phoebus ! To thee, 
Phoebus, the festal throng wreaths the head, to thee, 
waving laurel-bough, the Argive maid in wonted 

1 i.e. your house. At the horrid feast of Thyestes the sun 
veiled his face in darkness that he might not see. 

29 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

de more comas innuba fudit 

stirps Inachia ; 315 

quaeque Erasini gelidos fontes, 318 

quaeque Eurotan, 
quaeque virenti taciturn ripa 320 

bibis Ismenon ; 
tu quoque nostros, Thebais hospes, 316 

comitare choros, 1 317 

quam fatorum praescia Manto, 322 

sata Tiresia, 
Latonigenas monuit sacris 

celebrare deos. 
Arcus, victor, pace relata, 

Phoebe, relaxa 
umeroque graves levibus telis 

pone pharetras 
resonetque manu pulsa citata 330 

vocale chelys. 
nil acre velim magnumque modis 

intonet altis, 
sed quale soles leviore lyra 

flectere carmen 
simplex, lusus cum docta tuos 

Musa recenset. 
licet et chorda graviore sones, 

q u ale canebas 
cum Titanas fulrnine victos 3 K) 

videre del, 
vel cum montes montibus altis 

super impositi 
struxere gradus trucibus monstris, 

stetit imposita 
Pelion Ossa, pinifer ambos 

pressit Olympus. 

1 Lines 316, 317 were transposed by Bothe. 
30 



AGAMEMNON 

fashion spreads forth her virgin locks ; and thou who 

drinkest of Erasmus' cool waters, who of Eurotas, 
and who of Ismenus drinkest, silently flowing along 
its green banks ; thou, too, though stranger in 
Thebes, come join in our chorus, whom Manto, 
reader of fate, Tiresias' daughter, warned with due 
rites to worship the gods, offspring of Latona. 

326 Thy bow, now peace lias come back, all-con- 
quering Phoebus, loose, and thy quiver, full of swift 
arrows, lay down from thy shoulder and let resound, 
smit by thy flying fingers, the tuneful lyre. No 
stern, high strains in lofty measures would I have it 
sound, but such simple song as 'tis thy wont to 
modulate on lighter shell, when the learned Muse 
surveys thy sports. 'Tis thy right, too, on heavier 
strings to sound such strain as thou sangest when 
gods saw Titans by thunder overcome, even when 
mountains, on lofty mountains set, furnished pathway 
for grim monsters, when Pelion stood on Ossa set 
beneath, and cloud-capped Olympus weighed on 
both. 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Ades, o magni, soror et coniunx, 

censors sceptri, 
regia luno ! tua te colimus 350 

turba Mycenae, 
tu sollicitum supplexque tui 

numinis Argos 
sola tueris, tu bella inanu 

pacemque regis. 
tu nunc laurus Agamemnonias 

accipe victrix. 
tibi multifora tibia buxo 

solemne canit, 
tibi fila movent docta puellae 360 

carmine molli, 
tibi votivam matres Graiae 

lampada iactant, 
ad tua coniunx Candida tauri 

delubra cadet, 
nescia aratri, nullo collum 

signata iugo. 
Tuque, o magni nata Tonantis, 

incluta Pallas, 
quae Dardanias cuspide turres 370 

saepe petisti, 
te permixto matrona minor 

maiorque choro 
colit et reserat veniente dea 

templa sacerdos. 
tibi nexilibus turba coronis 

redimita venit, 
tibi grandaevi lassique senes 

compote voto 
reddunt grates libantque manu 380 

vina trementi. 
Et te Triviam nota memores 

voce precamur : 

32 



AGAMEMNON 

348 Thou, too, be near, who as wife and sister 
sharest the sceptre's might, Juno the royal ! We, 
thy chosen band, in Mycenae adore thee. Thou art 
the sole protector of Argos that calls on thee with 
anxious prayers ; thou in thy hand holdest war and 
peace. Accept now the laurels of Agamemnon, 
victorious goddess. To thee the box-wood flute of 
many openings soundeth its solemn strains ; to thee 
skilled maidens touch the strings in soothing melody ; 
to thee Grecian mothers wave the votive torch ; at 
thy shrines shall fall the bull's white mate, which 
knows not the plough, whose neck the yoke ne'er 
scarred. 

868 And thou, child of the great Thunderer, glorious 
Pallas, who oft with thy spear didst attack the 
Dardanian towers, to thee in mingled chorus mothers, 
younger and older, kneel, and at thy coming the 
priest throws wide the doors of the temple. To thee 
the throng, crowned with woven wreaths, advances ; 
to thee aged and spent old men, their petitions 
heard, give thanks and with trembling hand pour 
wine in libation. 

382 Thee, too, O Trivia, 1 with mindful hearts and 
prayer familiar we adore. Thou biddest thy natal 

1 i.e. Diana. 

S3 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

tu maternam sistere Delon, 

Lucina, iubes, 
hue atque illuc prius errantem 

Cyclada ventis : 
nunc iam stabilis fixa terras 

radice tenet, 
respuit auras religatque rates 390 

assueta sequi. 
tu Tantalidos funera matris 

victrix numeras ; 
stat nunc Sipyli vertice summo 

flebile saxum, 
et adhuc lacrimas marmora fundunt 

antiqua novas, 
colit impense femina virque 



numen geminum. 



Tuque ante omnes, pater ac rector 400 

fu Imine pollens, 
cuius nutu simul extremi 

tremuere poll, 
generis nostri, luppiter, auctor, 

cape dona libens 
abavusque tuam non degenerein 

respice prolem. 

Sed ecce, vasto concitus miles gradu 
manifesta properat signa laetitiae ferens 
(namque hasta summo lauream ferro gerit) 410 

fidusque regi semper Eurybates adest. 

EVRY BATES 

Delubra et aras caelitum et patrios lares 392 ai 
post longa fessus spatia, vix credens mihi, 

1 Leo in line notation has followed Gronovius except in the 
chorus just ended, which Gronovius, with E, prints in dimeters, 

34 



AGAMEMNON 

Delos to stand firm, Lucina, 1 erstwhile a Cyclad, 
drifting hither and yon at the will of the winds ; now 
'tis a stable land with root firm fixed, repels the 
winds and gives anchorage for ships, though wont to 
follow them. Victorious, thou countest o'er the 
corpses that their mother, 2 child of Tantalus, be- 
moaned ; now on Sipylus' high top she stands, a 
weeping statue, and to this day fresh tears the 
ancient marble drips. Zealously both maid and man 
adore the twin divinities. 3 

400 And thou before all others, father and ruler, 
god of the thunder, by whose mere nod the farthest 
poles do tremble, O Jove, thou author of our race, 
kindly accept our gifts, and with a father's care take 
thought for thine own true progeny. 

406 But lo, a soldier, hurrying with huge steps, 
hastes hither with signs of joyful tidings clearly 
visible, (for his spear bears a laurel wreath on its iron 
tip,) and Eurybates, the ever faithful servant of the 
king, is here. 

[Enter EURYBATES with laurel-wreathed spear.] 

EUR Y BATES 

Ye shrines and altars of the heavenly gods, ye 
household deities of my fathers, after long wanderings 
wearied, and scarce trusting mine own eyes, I humbly 

1 Diana. 2 Niobe. 8 i.e. Phoebus and Phoebe (Diana). 



while A alternates dimeters with manometers. Leo follows A, 
and adopts the notation 392 a -4K/ a , " in order not to break with 
Gronovius throughout the remainder of the play." 

S5 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

supplex adoro. vota superis solvite ; 
telluris altum remeat Argolicae decus 
tandem ad penates victor Agamemnon suos. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Felix ad aures nuntius venit meas ! 
ubinam petitus per decem coniunx mihi 
annos moratur ? pelagus an terras premit ? 

EVRYBATES 

Incolumis, auctus gloria, laude inclitus 400 a 

reducem expetito litori impressit pedem. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Sacris colamus prosperum tandem diem 
et si propitios attamen lentos deos. 
tu pande vivat coniugis frater mei 
et pande teneat quas soror sedes mea. 

EVRYBATES 

Meliora votis posco et obtestor deos ; 
nam certa fari sors maris dubii vetat. 
ut sparsa tumidum classis excepit mare, 
ratis videre socia non potuit ratem. 
quin ipse Atrides aequore immenso vagus 410 a 

graviora pelago damna quam bello tulit 
remeatque victo similis, exiguas trahens 
lacerasque victor classe de tanta rates. 

36 



AGAMEMNON 

give reverence. \To the people.] Pay now your vows 
to the high gods ; the pride and glory of the Argive 
land returns to his own house at last, Agamemnon, 
victorious ! 

[Enter CLYTEMNESTRA in time to hear the herald's con- 
cluding words] 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Blessed news this that falls upon mine ears ! But 
where delays my husband whom I have sought 
through ten long years ? Rests he on sea, or land ? 

EUPYBATES 

Unharmed, increased in glory, illustrious with 
praise, he hath set homeward foot upon the longed- 
for shore. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

With sacred rites let us hail the day, fortunate at 
last, and the gods, even if propitious, yet slow in 
granting our request. But tell me, thou, does my 
husband's brother live, and where is my sister, 1 tell. 

EURYBATES 

Better than our hopes I pray and beseech the 
gods ; for the sea's dubious lot forbids to speak 
certainty. When our scattered fleet met swollen 
seas, one ship could scarce descry her sister ship. 
Nay, e'en Atrides' self, on the boundless ocean wan- 
dering, endured losses heavier by sea than war, and 
like a vanquished man, though victor, he returns, 
bringing but few and shattered vessels from his 

mighty fleet. 

1 Helen. 

37 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Eflfare casus quis rates hausit meas 
aut quae rnaris fortuna dispulerit duces. 



EVRYBATES 



Acerba fatu poscis, infaustum iubes 
miscere laeto nuntium. refugit loqui 
mens aegra tantis atque inhorrescit mails. 



CLYTAEMNESTRA 



Exprome ; clades scire qui refugit suas 
gravat timorem ; dubia plus torquent mala. 420 



EVRYBATES 

Vt Pergamum omne Dorica cecidit face, 
divisa praeda est, maria properantes petunt. 
iamque ense fessum miles exonerat latus, 
neglecta summas scuta per puppes iacent ; 
ad militares remus aptatur manus 
omnisque nimium longa properanti mora est 
signum recursus regia ut fulsit rate 
et clara laetum remigem monuit tuba, 
aurata primas prora designat vias 
aperitque cursus, mille quos puppes secent. 430 

Hinc aura primo lenis impellit rates 
adlapsa velis ; unda vix actu levi 
tranquilla Zephyri mollis atflatu tremit, 
s})lendetque classe pelagus et pariter latet. 
iuvat videre nuda Troiae litora, 
iuvat relicti sola Sigei loca. 
properat iuventus omnis adductos simul 

38 



AGAMEMNON 



CLYTEMNESTRA 



Tell what calamity has swallowed up my ships, 
or what mishap by sea has dispersed the chiefs. 

EURYBATES 

A tale bitter in the telling thou demandest; thou 
biddest me mix the unlucky message with the glad. 
My sick mind shrinks from speech and shudders at 
the thought of such disasters. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Tell on ; who shrinks from knowledge of his 
calamities but aggravates his fear; troubles half 
seen do torture all the more. 

EURYBATES 

When all Pergamum fell 'neath the Doric fire, the 
spoil was divided and in eager haste all sought the 
sea. And now the warrior eases his side of the 
sword's weary load, and unheeded lie the shields 
along the high sterns ; the oar is fitted to the warrior's 
hands, and to their eager haste all tarrying seems 
over long. Then, when the signal for return gleamed 
on the royal ship, and the loud trumpet-blast warned 
the glad rowers, the king's gilded prow, leading, 
marked out the way, and opened up the course for a 
thousand ships to follow. 

431 A gentle breeze at first steals into our sails and 
drives our vessels onward ; the tranquil waves, scarce 
stirring, ripple beneath soft Zephyr's breathing, and 
the sea reflects the splendour of the fleet, hiding the 
while beneath it. 'Tis sweet to gaze on the bare 
shores of Troy, sweet to behold deserted Sigeum's 
wastes. The young men all haste to bend the oars, 

39 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

lentare remos, adiuvat ventos manu 

et valida nisu bracchia alterno movet. 

sulcata vibrant aequora et latera increpant 440 

dirimuntque canae caerulum spumae mare. 

ut aura plenos fortior tendit sinus, 

posuere tonsas, credita est vento ratis 

fususque transtris miles aut terras procul, 

quantum recedunt vela, fugientes notat, 

aut bella narrat : Hectoris fortis minas 

currusque et empto redditum corpus rogo, 

sparsum cruore regis Herceum lovem. 

tune qui iacente reciprocus ludit salo 

tumidumque pando transilit dorso mare 450 

Tyrrhenus omni piscis exultat freto 

agitatque gyros et comes lateri adnatat, 

anteire naves laetus et rursus sequi ; 

nunc prima tangens rostra lascivit chorus, 

millesimam nunc ambit et lustrat ratem. 

lam litus omne tegitur et campi latent 
et dubia parent montis Idaei iuga ; 
et iam, quod unum pervicax acies videt, 
Iliacus atra fumus apparet nota. 

iam lassa Titan colla relevabat iugo, 460 

in astra iam lux prona, iam praeceps dies, 
exigua nubes sordido crescens globo 
nitidum cadentis inquinat Phoebi iubar ; 
suspecta varius occidens fecit freta. 

Nox prima caelum sparserat stellis, iacent 
deserta vento vela, turn murmur grave, 
maiora minitans, collibus summis cadit 

1 i.e. of Achilles, by which Hector's body was dragged. 

2 Priam was slain at the altar of Hercean Jove (Zet/s 
'Ep-retoj, protector of the courtyard) in the courtyard of his 
palace. 

8 The dolphin is so called here in remembrance of th* 

40 



AGAMEMNON 

with strokes together, aid winds with hands and move 
their sturdy arms with rhythmic swing. The fur- 
rowed waters quiver, the vessel's sides hiss through 
the waves and dash the blue sea into hoary spray. 
When a fresher breeze strains the swelling sails, the 
warriors lay by their oars, trust ship to wind and, 
stretched along the benches, either watch the far- 
fleeing land as the sails retreat, or rehearse their 
wars brave Hector's threats, the chariot 1 and his 
ransomed body given to the pyre, Hercean Jove 
sprinkled with royal blood. 2 Then, too, the Tyrrhene 
fish 3 plays to and fro in the smooth water, leaps over 
the heaving seas with arching back, and sports 
around, now dashing about in circles, now swimming 
by our side, now gaily leading and again following 
after ; anon the band in sheer wantonness touch the 
leading prow, now round and round the thousandth 
ship they swim. 

456 Meanwhile all the shore is hid and the plains 
sink from view, and dimly the ridges of Ida's mount 
appear ; and now, what alone the keenest eye can see, 
the smoke of Ilium shows but a dusky spot. Already 
from the yoke Titan was freeing his horses' weary 
neoks ; now to the stars his rays sink low, now day 
goes headlong down. A tiny cloud, growing to a 
murky mass, stains the bright radiance of the setting 
sun, and the many coloured sun-set has made us 
doubt the sea. 4 

465 Young night had spangled the sky with stars ; 
the sails, deserted by the wind, hung low. Then 
from the mountain heights there falls a murmur 
deep, worse threatening, and the wide-sweeping 

Tyrrhene pirates who under the wrath of Bacchus were 
changed to dolphins. See Oedipus, 449 ff. 
4 This is one of numerous weather-signs. 

41 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

tractuque longo litus ac petrae gemunt ; 

agitata ventis unda Venturis tumet 

cum subito luna conditur, stellae latent, 470 

in astra pontus tollitur, caelum perit. 

neo una nox est ; densa tenebras obruit 

caligo et omni luce subducta fretum 

caelumque miscet. undique incumbunt simul 

rapiuntque pelagus infimo eversum solo 1 

ad versus Euro Zephyrus et Boreae Notus. 

sua quisque mittit tela et infesti fretum 

emoliuntur, turbo convolvit mare. 

Strymonius altas Aquilo contorquet nives 

Libycusque harenas Auster ac Syrtes agit ; 480 

nee manet in Austro : flat gravis nimbis Notus, 

imbre auget undas, Eurus orientem movet 

Nabataea quatiens regna et Eoos sinus. 

quid rabidus ora Corus Oceano exerens ? 

mundum revellit sedibus totum suis, 

ipsosque rupto crederes caelo deos 

decidere et atrum rebus induci chaos. 

vento resistit aestus et ventus retro 

aestum revolvit ; non capit sese mare 

undasque miscent imber et fluctus suas. 490 

nee hoc levamen denique aerumnis datur, 

videre saltern et nosse quo pereant malo. 

premunt tenebrae lumina et dirae Stygis 

inferna nox est. excidunt ignes tamen 

et nube dirum fulmen elisa micat, 

miserisque lucis tanta dulcedo est malae ; 

hoc lumen optant. 

Ipsa se classis premit 
et prora prorae nocuit et lateri latus. 

1 So A : Leo infimum f everso polo with E t conjecturing 
infimum venti polo, and deleting 1. 476. 

42 



AGAMEMNON 

shore and rocky headlands send forth a moaning 
sound ; the waves, lashed by the rising wind, roll 
high when suddenly the moon is hid, the stars sink 
out of sight, skyward the sea is lifted, the heavens 
are gone. 'Tis doubly night ; dense fog o'erwhelms 
the dark and, all light withdrawn, confuses sea and 
sky. From all sides at once the winds fall on and 
ravage the sea, from its lowest depths upturned, 
West wind with East wind striving, South with 
North. Each wields his own weapons, with deadly 
assault stirring up the deep, while a whirlwind churns 
the waves. Strymonian Aquilo sends the deep snow 
whirling, and Libyan Auster stirs up the sands of 
Syrtes ; 1 nor stands the strife with Auster : Notus, 
heavy with clouds, blows up, swells waves with rain, 
while Eurus attacks the dawn, shaking Nabataean 
realms, and eastern gulfs. What wrought fierce 
Corus, thrusting forth his head from ocean? The 
whole sky he tears from its foundations, and you 
might think the very gods falling from the shattered 
heavens, and black chaos enveloping the world 
Flood strives with wind and wind backward rolls the 
flood. The sea contains not itself, and rain and 
waves mingle their waters. Then even this comfort 
fails their dreadful plight, to see at least and know 
the disaster by which they perish. Darkness weighs 
on their eyes, and 'tis the infernal night of awful 
Styx. Yet fires burst forth, and from the riven 
clouds gleams the dire lightning flash, and to the 
poor sailors great is the sweetness of that fearful 
gleam ; even for such light they pray. 

497 The fleet itself helps on its own destruction, prow 
crashing on prow and side on side. One ship the 

1 The Syrtes were shallow sand-bars off the northern coast 
of Africa. 

43 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

illam dehiscens pontus in praeceps rapit 

hauritque et alto redditam revomit mari ; 500 

haec onere sidit, ilia convulsum latus 

submittit undis, fluctus hanc decimus tegit. 

haec lacera et omni decore populate levis 

fluitat nee illi vela nee tonsae manent 

nee rectus altas maluS antemnas ferens, 

sed trunca toto puppis Icario natat. 

nil ratio et usus audet ; ars cessit malis. 

tenet horror artus, omiiis officio stupet 

navita relicto, remus efFugit manus. 

in vota miseros ultimus cogit timor 510 

eademque superos Troes et Danai rogant. 

quid fata possunt ! invidet Pyrrhus patri, 

Aiaci Vlixes, Hectori Atrides minor, 

Agamemno Priamo ; quisquis ad Troiam iacet 

felix vocatur, cadere qui meruit manu, 1 

quem fama servat, victa quern tell us tegit. 

"nil nobile ausos pontus atque undae ferunt ? 

ignava fortes fata consument viros ? 

perdeiida mors est ? quisquis es nondum malis 

satiate tantis caelitum, tandem tuum 520 

numen serena ; cladibus nostris daret 

vel Troia lacrimas. odia si durant tua 

placetque mitti Doricum exitio genus, 

quid hos simul perire nobiscum iuvat, 

quibus perimus? sistite infestum mare; 

vehit ista Danaos classis et Troas vehit." 

nee plura possunt ; occupat vocem mare. 

1 So A : Leo gradu. 



1 Every tenth wave was supposed to be the greatest and 
most destructive. 

2 i.e. in safety. The contrast here is between timorous 

44 



AGAMEMNON 

yawning deep sucks into the abyss, engulfs and spews 
forth again, restored to the sea above ; one sinks 
of its own weight, another turns its wrecked side to 
the waves, and one the tenth l wave o'erwhelms. 
Here, battered and stripped of all its ornament, one 
floats, with neither sails nor oars nor straight mast 
bearing the high sailyards, a broken hulk, drifting 
wide on the Icarian sea. Reason, experience, are of 
no avail ; skill yields to dire calamity. Horror holds 
their limbs ; the sailors all stand stupefied, their 
tasks abandoned ; oars drop from hands. To prayer 
abject fear drives the wretches, and Trojans and 
Greeks beg the same things of the gods. What can 
near doom accomplish ? Pyrrhus envies his father, 
Ulysses Ajax, the younger Atrides Hector, Agamem- 
non Priam ; whoever at Troy lies slain is hailed as 
blessed, who by deeds of arms earned death, whom 
glory guards, whom the land he conquered buries. 
" Do sea and wave bear 2 those who have dared 
naught noble, and shall a coward's doom o'erwhelm 
brave men ? Must death be squandered ? Whoe'er 
of heaven's gods thou art, not yet with our sore 
troubles sated, let thy divinity be at last appeased ; 
o'er our calamities e'en Troy would weep. But if 
thy hate is stubborn, and 'tis thy pleasure to send 
the Greek race to doom, why wouldst have those 3 
perish along with us, for whose sake we perish ? 
Allay the raging sea: this fleet bears Greeks but it 
bears Trojans too." They can no more ; the sea 
usurps their words. 

folk who have safely sailed the sea and these brave men 
who must perish in it and throw away their lives for no 
return. 

3 i.e. the Trojans, on whose account, it is here assumed, 
the destructive storm has been sent upon the Greeks. 

45 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Ecce alia clades ! fulmine irati lovis 
armata Pallas quidquid haut l hasta minax, 
haut 1 aegide haut 2 furore Gorgoneo potest, 530 

at 3 igne patrio temptat, et caelo novae 
spirant procellae. solus invictus malis 
luctatur Aiax. vela cogentem hunc sua 
tento rudente flamma perstrinxit cadens. 
libratur aliud fulmen ; hoc toto impetu 
certum reducta Pallas excussit manu, 
imitata patrem. transit Aiacem et ratem 
ratisque partem secum et Aiacem tulit. 
nil ille motus, ardua ut cautes, salo 
ambustus extat, dirimit insanum mare 540 

fluctusque rumpit pectore et navem manu 
complexus ignes traxit et caeco mari 
conlucet Aiax, omne resplendet fretum. 
tandem occupata rupe furibundum intonat : 
"superasse cuncta, 4 pelagus atque ignes iuvat, 
vicisse caelum Palladem fulmen mare, 
non me fugavit bellici terror dei, 
et Hectorem una solus et Martem tuli; 5 
Phoebea nee me tela pepulerunt gradu. 
cum Phrygibus istos vicimus tene horream ? 550 
aliena inerti tela mittis dextera. 
quid; si ipse mittat " 6 pi ura cum auderet furens, 

1 So M. Mueller emending o>, followed by Richter : Leo aut. 

2 et w, emended by M. Mueller : Leo et. 

3 aut o>, emtnded by M. Mueller : Leo aut. 

4 So Richter : nunc E : nunc se A : iuvit, Leo conj. 

6 This line is jnroperly deleted by Leo, as applicable to the 
greater Ajax and not to the present speaker. Farnabius, how- 
ever, allow* the line to stand, as befitting the boastful, wild 
words of Ajax Oileus. 

6 All editors read quid si ipse mittat? a meaningless phrase. 
I have changed the punctuation as indicated above, leaving the 
sentence unfinished. 

46 



AGAMEMNON 

528 But lo ! disaster on disaster ! Pallas, armed with 
the bolt of angry Jove, threatening essays whate'er 
she may, not with spear, not with aegis, not with 
Gorgon's l rage, but with her father's lightning, and 
throughout the sky new tempests blow. Ajax 2 
alone, undaunted by disaster, keeps up the struggle. 
Him, shortening sail with straining halyard, the 
hurtling lightning grazed. Another bolt is levelled ; 
this, with all her might, Pallas launched true, with 
hand back drawn, in imitation of her father. Through 
Ajax it passed, and through his ship, and part of the 
ship with it, and Ajax it bore away. Then he, 
nothing moved, like some high crag, rises flame- 
scorched from the briny deep, cleaves the raging sea, 
with his breast bursts through the floods and, holding 

o f O 

to his wrecked vessel with his hand, drags flames 
along, shines brightly midst the darkness of the sea 
and illumines all the waves. At last, gaining a rock, 
in mad rage he thunders : " 'Tis sweet to have 
conquered all things, flood and flame, to have van- 
quished sky, Pallas, thunderbolt and sea. I fled not 
in terror of the god of war ; both Hector at once 
and Mars did I with my sole arm withstand ; nor did 
Phoebus' shafts force me to give way. Such warriors, 
together with their Phrygians, I conquered ; and 
shall I shrink from thee ? Another's weapon with 
weakling hand thou hurlest. What, if he himself 
should hurl ?" 3 When in his madness he would 



1 The shield (aegis) of Minerva was set with the terrifying 
Gorgon's head given to her by Perseus. 

2 i.e. Ajax "the Less," son of Oileus. This scene recalls 
Vergil, Aen. I. 41 ff. 

3 Ajax apparently would have finished by saying " his 
bolt, even then I would not fear." 

47 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

tridente rupem submit pulsam pater 
Neptunus imis exerens undis caput 
solvitque montem ; quem cadens secum tulit 
terraque et igne victus et pelago iacet. 

Nos alia maior naufragos pestis vocat. 
est humilis unda, scrupeis mendax vadis, 
ubi saxa rapidis clausa verticibus tegit 
fallax Caphereus ; aestuat scopulis fretum 560 

fervetque semper fluctus alterna vice, 
arx imminet praerupta quae spectat mare 
utrimque geminum. Pelopis hinc oras tui 
et Isthmon, arto qui recurvatus solo 
Ionia iungi maria Phrixeis vetat, 
hinc scelere Lemnon nobilem et Calchedona 
tardamque ratibus Aulida. hanc arcem occupat 
Palamedis ille genitor et clarum manu 
lumen nefanda vertice e summo efferens 
in saxa ducit perfida classem face. 570 

haerent acutis rupibus fixae rates ; 
has inopis undae brevia comminuunt vada, 
pars vehitur huius prima, pars scopulo sedet ; 
hanc alia retro spatia relegentem ferit 
et fracta frangit. iam timent terram rates 
et maria malunt. cecidit in lucem furor ; 
postquam litatum est Ilio, Phoebus redit 
et damna noctis tristis ostendit dies. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Vtrumne doleam laeter an reducem virum ? 
remeasse laetor vulnus et regni grave 580 

1 i e. of the women who killed all their men, except that 
Hypsipyle saved her father, Thoas. 

48 



AGAMEMNON 

be daring more, father Neptune, pushing with his 
trident, o'erwhelmed the rock, thrusting forth his 
head from his waves' depths, and broke off the crag. 
This in his fall Ajax bears down with him, and now 
he lies, by earth and fire and billows overcome. 

557 But us shipwrecked mariners, another, worse 
ruin challenges. There is a shallow water, a deceitful 
shoal full of rough boulders, where treacherous Capher- 
eus hides his rocky base beneath whirling eddies ; 
the sea boils upon the rocks, and ever the flood 
seethes with its ebb and flow. A precipitous head- 
land o'erhangs, which on either hand looks out upon 
both stretches of the sea. Hence thou mayst descry 
thine own Pelopian shores, and Isthmus which, 
backward curving with its narrow soil, forbids the 
Ionian sea to join with Phrixus' waves ; hence also 
Lemnos, infamous for crime, 1 and Calchedon, and 
Aulis which long delayed the fleet. Seizing this 
summit, the father of Palamedes with accursed 
hand raised from the high top a beacon-light and 
with treacherous torch lured the fleet upon the reefs. 
There hang the ships caught on jagged rocks ; some 
are broken to pieces in the shallow water ; the prow 
of one vessel is carried away, while a part sticks fast 
upon the rock ; one ship crashes with another as it 
draws back, both wrecked and wrecking. Now 
ships fear land and choose the seas. Towards dawn 
the storm's rage is spent ; now that atonement has 
been made for Ilium, Phoebus returns and sad day 
reveals the havoc of the night. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Shall I lament or rejoice me at my lord's return ? 
I do rejoice to see him home again, but o'er our 

49 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

lugere cogor. redde iam Grais, pater 
altisona quatiens regna, placates decs, 
nunc omne laeta fronde veletur caput, 
sacrifica dulces tibia efiundat modos 
et nivea magnas victima ante aras cadat. 

Sed ecce, turba tristis incomptae comas 
Iliades adsunt, quas super celso gradu 
effrena Phoebas entheas laurus quatit. 



CHORVS 

Heu quam dulce malum mortal ibus additum 
vitae dims amor, cum pateat malis 590 

effugium et miseros libera mors vocet 
portus aeterna placidus quiete. 
nullus liunc terror nee impotentis 
procella Fortunae movet aut iniqui 
flamma Tonantis. 
pax alta nullos l 

civium coetus timet aut minaces 
victoris iras, non maria asperis 
insana coris, non acies feras 

pulvereamve nubem 600 

motam barbaricis equitum catervis ; 
non urbe cum tota populos cadentes, 
hostica muros populante flamma, 
indomitumve bellum. 
perrumpet omne servitium 
contemptor levium deorum, 
qui vultus Acherontis atri, 
qui Styga tristem non tristis videt 
audetque vitae ponere finem. 

1 This awkward duplication of half-lines Kichter avoids, 
while at the same time olto.ining a presumably more logical 

50 



AGAMEMNON 

realm's heavy loss am I forced to grieve. At last 
O father, that dost shake the high-resounding heavens, 
restore to the Greeks their gods appeased. Now 
let every head be crowned with festal wreaths, let 
the sacrificial flute give forth sweet strains, and the 
white victim at the great altars fall. 

586 But see, a mournful throng with locks unbound, 
the Trojan women are here, while high above them 
all, with proud step advancing, Phoebus' mad priestess 
waves the inspiring laurel branch. 

[Enter band of Trojan women led by CASSANDRA.] 

CHORUS OF TROJAN WOMEN 

Alas, how alluring a bane is appointed unto 
mortals, even dire love of life, though refuge from 
their woes opes wide, and death with generous 
hand invites the wretched, a peaceful port of ever- 
lasting rest. Nor fear nor storm of raging Fortune 
disturbs that calm, nor bolt of the harsh Thunderer. 
Peace so deep fears no citizens' conspiracy, no victor's 
threatening wrath, no wild seas ruffled by stormy 
winds, no fierce battle lines or dark cloud raised by 
barbaric squadrons' hoofs, no nations falling with 
their city's utter overthrow, while the hostile flames 
lay waste the walls, no fierce, ungovernable war. 
All bonds will he break through, who dares scorn 
the fickle gods, who on the face of dark Acheron, on 
fearful Styx can look, unfearful, and is bold enough 
to put an end to life. A match for kings, a match 

arrangement, by reading II. 605-609 after I. 595. He then 
prints 1. 596 with a lacuna : Alta pax . . . nullos. 

51 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

par ille regi, par superis erit. 6 10 

o quam miserum est nescire mori ! 

Vidimus patriam ruentem nocte funesta, 
cum Dardana tecta Dorici raperetis ignes. 
non ilia bello victa, non armis, 
ut quondam, Herculea cecidit pharetra; 
quam non Pelei Thetidisque natus 
carusque Pelidae minium feroci 
vicit, acceptis cum fulsit armis 
fuditque Troas falsus Achilles, 
aut cum ipse Pelides animos feroces 620 

sustulit luctu celeremque saltu 
Troades summis timuere muris, 
perdidit in malis 
extremum decus fortiter vinci ; 
restitit quinis bis annis 
unius noctis peritura furto. 

Vidimus simulata dona 
molis immensae Danaumque 
fatale munus duximus nostra 
creduli dextra tremuitque saepe 
limine in primo sonipes, cavernis 630 

conditos reges belhmique gestans ; 
et licuit dolos versare ut ipsi 
fraude sua caderent Pelasgi. 
saepe commotae sonuere parmae 
tacitumque murmur percussit aures, 
ut fremuit male subdolo 
parens Pyrrhus Vlixi. 

Secura metus Troica pubes 
sacros gaudet tangere funes. 
hinc aequaevi gregis Astyanax, 640 

1 Patroclus. 

2 i.e. at the death of Patroclus. 

52 



AGAMEMNON 

for the high gods will he be. Oh, how wretched 'tis to 
know not how to die ! 

612 \y e saw our country fall on that night of death, 
when you, ye Doric fires, ravished Dardania's homes. 
She, not in war conquered, not by arms, not, as 
aforetime, by Hercules' arrows, fell ; her, not Peleus' 
and Thetis' son o'ercame, nor he, 1 well-beloved by 
overbrave Pelides, when in borrowed arms he shone 
and drove Troy's sons in flight, a false Achilles ; nor, 
when Pelides' self through grief 2 gave o'er his fierce 
resentment, 3 and the Trojan women, from the ram- 
parts watching, feared his swift attack, did she lose 
amid her woes the crowning glory of suffering 
conquest bravely ; for ten long years she stood, fated 
to perish by one night's treachery. 4 

627 \y e saw tj la t; feigned gift, measureless in bulk, 
and with our own hands trustfully dragged along the 
Greeks' deadly offering ; and oft on the threshold of 
the gate the noisy footed monster stumbled, bearing 
within its hold hidden chiefs and war. We might 
have turned their guile against themselves, and 
caused the Pelasgians by their own trick to fall. 
Oft sounded their jostled shields, and a low muttering 
smote our ears, when Pyrrhus grumbled, scarce 
yielding to crafty Ulysses' will. 

638 All unafraid, the Trojan youth joy to touch the 
fatal ropes. 5 Companies of their own age here 

3 i.e. against Agamemnon. 

4 i.e. by the trick of the wooden horse. 

6 With this whole passage compare Vergil's description, 
and especially Aen. 11. 239. 

53 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

hinc Haemonio desponsa rogo 

ducunt turmas, haec femineas, 

ille viriles. festae matres 

votiva ferunt munera divis ; 

festi patres adeunt aras, 

unus tota est vultus in urbe ; 

et, quod numquam post Hectorcos 

vidimus ignes, laeta est Hecuba. 

quid nunc primum, dolor infelix, 

quidve extremum deflere paras? 650 

moenia, divum fabricata manu, 

diruta nostra ? 

an templa deos super usta suos ? 

non vacat istis lacrimare malis 

te, magne parens, flent Iliades. 

vidi, vidi senis in iugulo 

telum Pyrrlri vix exiguo 

sanguine tingui. 

CASSANDRA 

Cohibete lacrimas omne quas tempus petet, 
Troades, et ipsae vestra lamentabili 660 

lugete gemitu funera ; aerumnae meae 
socium recusant, cladibus questus meis 
reinovete. nostris ipsa sufficiam malis. 

CHORVS 

Lacrimas lacrimis miscere iuvat ; 
magis exurunt quos secretae 
lacerant curae, iuvat in medium 
deflere suos ; nee tu, quamvis 
dura virago patiensque mali, 
poteris tantas flere ruinas. 
non quae verno mobile carmen 670 

ramo cantat tristis aedon 

54 



AGAMEMNON 

Astyanax leads, there she, 1 to the Thessalian pyre 
betrothed, she leading maids, he youths. Gaily do 
mothers bring votive offerings to the gods ; gaily dp 
fathers approach the shrines ; each wears but one 
look the city o'er ; and, what never we saw since 
Hector's funeral, Hecuba was glad. And now, 
unhappy grief, what first, what last, wilt thou 
lament ? Walls by divine hands fashioned, by our 
own destroyed ? Temples upon their own gods 
consumed ? Time lacks to weep such ills thee, O 
great father, the Trojan women weep. I saw, I saw 
in the old man's throat the sword of Pyrrhus scarce 
wet in his scanty blood. 

CASSANDRA 

Restrain your tears which all time will seek, ye 
Trojan women, and do you yourselves grieve for 
your own dead with groans and lamentations ; my 
losses refuse all sharing. Cease then your grief for 
my disasters. I myself shall suffice for the woes of 
mine own house. 

CHORUS 

"1'is sweet to mingle tears with tears ; griefs bring 
more smart where they wound in solitude, but 'tis 
sweet in company to bewail one's friends ; nor shalt 
thou, though strong, heroic, and inured to woe, 
avail to lament calamities so great. Not the sad 
nightingale, 2 which from the vernal bough pours 

1 Polyxena. a Into which Philomela was changed. 

55 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Ityn in varios modulata sonos, 

non quae tectis Bistonis ales 

residens summis impia diri 

furta mariti garrula narrat, 

lugere tuam poterit digne 

conquesta domum. licet ipse velit 

clarus niveos inter olores 

Histrum cycnus Tanainque colens 

extrema loqui, licet alcyones 680 

Ceyca suum fluctu leviter 

plangente sonent, cum tranquillo 

male confisae credunt iterum 

pelago audaces fetusque suos 

nido pavidae titubante fovent ; 

non si rnolles comitata viros 

tristis laceret bracchia tecum 

quae turritae turba parenti 

pectora, rauco concita buxo, 

ferit ut Plirygium lugeat Attin, 690 

non est lacrimis, Cassandra, modus, 

quia quae patimur vicere modum. 

Sed cur sacratas deripis capiti infulas ? 
miseris colendos maxiine superos putem. 

CASSANDRA 

Vicere nostra iam metus omnes mala, 
equidem nee ulla caelites placo prece 
nee, si velint saevire, quo noceant habent. 
Fortuna vires ipsa consumpsit suas. 
quae patria restat, quis pater, quae iam soror ? 

1 The swallow (hirundo] into which Procne was changed. 
a Cycnus (see Index) is here conceived of as swan rather 
than man. 

56 



AGAMEMNON 

forth her liquid song, piping of Itys in ever changing 
strains ; not the bird 1 which, perching on Bistonian 
battlements, tells o'er and o'er the hidden sins of 
her cruel lord, will e'er be able, with all her passionate 
lament, worthily to mourn thy house. Should bright 
Cycnus' 2 self, haunting midst snowy swans Ister 
and Tanai's, utter his dying song ; should halcyons 
mourn their Ceyx midst the light wave's lapping, 
when, though distrustful, boldly they trust once 
more to the tranquil ocean, and anxiously on un- 
steady nest cherish their young ; should the sad 
throng which follows the unmanned men 3 bruise 

O 

their arms along with thee, the throng which, by the 
shrill flute maddened, smite their breasts to the 
tower-crowned mother, 4 that for Phrygian Attis they 
may lament, not so, Cassandra, is there measure 
for our tears, for what we suffer has outmeasured 
measure. 

693 But why dost tear off the holy fillets from thy 
head ? Methinks the gods should be most reverenced 
by unhappy souls. 

CASSANDRA 

Now have our woes o'ermastered every fear. 
Neither do I appease the heavenly gods by any 
prayer, nor, should they wish to rage, have they 
wherewith to harm me. Fortune herself has ex- 
hausted all her powers. What fatherland remains ? 
What father ? W T hat sister now ? Altars 5 and 

* Priests of Cybele. * Cybele. 

6 Both her brother Polites and her father Priam hud been 
slain at the altar of Hercean Jove. See A en. II. 526 ff. 

57 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Dibere tumuli sanguinem atque arae meum. 700 

quid ilia felix turba fraterni gregis ? 

exhausta nempe ! regia miseri senes 

vacua relicti ; totque per thalamos vident 

praeter Lacaenam ceteras viduas nurus. 

tot ilia regum mater et regimen Phrygum, 

fecunda in ignes Hecuba fatorum novas 

experta leges induit vultus feros : 

circa ruinas rabida latravit suas, 

Troiae superstes, Hectori, Priamo, sibi ! 

CHORVS 

Silet repente Phoebas et pallor genas 7 1 

creberque totum possidet corpus tremor ; 
stetere vittae, mollis borrescit coma, 
anhela corda murmure incluso fremunt, 
incerta nutant lumiiia et versi retro 
torquentur oculi, rursus immoti rigent. 
nunc levat in auras altior solito caput 
graditurque celsa, nunc reluctantes parat 
reserare fauces, verba nunc clauso male 
custodit ore maenas impatiens dei. 

CASSANDRA 

Quid me furoris incitam stimulis novi 720 

quid mentis inopem, sacra Parnasi iuga, 
rapitis ? recede, Phoebe, iam non sum tua, 
extingue flammas pectori infixas meo. 
cui nunc vagor vaesana ? cui bacchor furens ? 
iam Troia cecidit falsa quid vates ago ? 

58 



AGAMEMNON 

tombs * have drunk up my blood. What of that 
happy throng of brothers ? Gone, all ! in the 
empty palace only sad old men are left ; and 
throughout those many chambers they see all 
women, save her of Sparta, widowed. That mother 
of so many kings, queen of the Phrygians, Hecuba, 
fruitful for funeral-fires, proving new laws of fate, 
has put on bestial form : 2 around her ruined walls 
madly she barked, surviving Troy, son, husband 
and herself! 

CHORUS 

The bride of Phoebus suddenly is still, pallor 
o'erspreads her cheeks, and constant tremors master 
all her frame. Her fillets stand erect, her soft locks 
rise in horror, her labouring heart sounds loud with 
pent murmuring, her glance wanders uncertain, 
her eyes seem backward turned into herself, anon 
they stare unmoving. Now she lifts her head into 
the air higher than her wont, and walks with stately 
tread ; now makes to unlock her struggling lips, now 
vainly tries to close them on her words, a mad 
priestess fighting against the god. 

CASSANDRA 

Why, O Parnassus' sacred heights, do ye prick me 
with fury's goads anew, why do you sweep me on, 
bereft of sense ? Away ! O Phoebus, I am no 
longer thine ; quench thou the flames set deep 
within my breast. For whose sake wander I now in 
madness ? for whose sake in frenzy rave ? Now 
Troy has fallen what have I, false prophetess, 
to do ? 

1 Polyxena had been slain on Achilles' tomb. 
8 i.e. she was changed into a dog. 

59 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Vbi sum ? fugit lux alma et obscurat genas 
nox alta et aether abditus tenebris latet. 
sed ecce gemino sole praefulget dies 
geminumque duplices Argos attollit dornus. 
Idaea cerno nemora ; fatalis sedet 730 

inter potentes arbiter pastor deas. 
timete reges, moneo, furtivum genus ; 
agrestis iste alumnus evertet dornum. 1 
quid ista vaecors tela feminea manu 
destricta praefert ? quern petit dextra virum 
Lacaena cultu, ferrum Amazonium gerens ? 
quae versat oculos alia mine facies meos ? 
victor ferarum colla sublimis iacet 
ignobili sub dente Marmaricus leo, 
morsus cruentos passus audacis leae. 740 

quid me vocatis sospitem solam e meis, 
umbrae meorum ? te sequor testis, pater, 
Troiae sepultae ; frater, auxilium Phrygum 
terrorque Danaum, non ego antiquum decus 
video aut calentes ratibus exustis manus, 
sed lacera membra et saucios vinclo gravi 
illos lacertos ; te sequor, nimium cito 
congresse Achilli Troile ; incertos geris, 
Deiphobe, vultus, coniugis munus novae, 
iuvat per ipsos ingredi Stygios lacus, 750 

iuvat videre Tartar! saevum canem 
avidique regna Ditis ! haec hodie ratis 
Phlegethontis atri regias animas vehet, 
victamque victricemque. vos, umbrae, precor, 
iurata superis unda, te pariter precor : 

1 Wilamowitz conjectures that several lines have fallen out 
after I. 733, concerning the fates of Troy and the crimes of the 
Atridae. Lines 730-733 seem to Leo to be spurious. 

1 These words have no logical connection with her previous 
utterance, and are a dark allusion to Aegisthus. 

60 



AGAMEMNON 

726 Where am I ? Fled is the kindly light, deep 
darkness blinds my eyes, and the sky, buried in 
gloom, is hidden away. But see ! with double sun 
the day gleams forth, and double Argos lifts up 
twin palaces ! Ida's groves I see ; there sits the 
shepherd, fateful judge midst mighty goddesses.- 
Fear him, ye kings, I warn you, fear the child of 
stolen love ; l that rustic foundling shall overturn 
your house. What means that mad woman with 
drawn sword in hand ? What hero seeks she with 
her right hand, a Spartan in her garb, 2 but carrying 
an Amazonian axe ? What sight is that other which 
now employs mine eyes ? The king of beasts with 
his proud neck, by a base fang lies low, an Afric 
lion, suffering the bloody bites of his bold lioness. - 
Why do ye summon me, saved only of my house, 
my kindred shades? Thee, father, do I follow, eye- 
witness of Troy's burial ; thee, brother, help of the 
Phrygians, terror of the Greeks, I see not in thine 
old-time splendour, or with thine hands hot from 
the burning of the ships, but mangled of limb, with 
those arms wounded by the deep-sunk thongs ; 
thee, Troilus, I follow, too early with Achilles met ; 
unrecognisable the face thou wearest, Deiphobus, 3 
the gift of thy new wife. 4 'Tis sweet to fare along 
the very Stygian pools ; sweet to behold Tartarus' 
savage dog and the realms of greedy Dis ! To-day 
this skiff of murky Phlegethon shall bear royal 
souls, 5 vanquished and vanquisher. Ye shades, I 
pray ; thou stream on which the gods make oath, 
thee no less I pray : for a little withdraw the 

2 She has a clairvoyant prevision of the act of Clyteinnestra. 

3 See Vergil, A en. vi. 494 ff. 

4 i.e. Helen. 

8 Her own and Agamemnon's. 

61 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

reserate paulum terga nigrantis poli, 

levis ut Mycenas turba prospiciat Phrygum. 

spectate, miseri ; fata se vertunt retro. 

Instant sorores squalidae, 
sanguinea iactant verbera, 760 

fert laeva semustas faces 
turgentque pallentes genae 
et vestis atri funeris 
exesa cingit ilia, 
strepuntque nocturni metus 
et ossa vasti corporis 
corrupta longinquo situ 
palude limosa iacent. 1 
et ecce, defessus senex 

ad ora ludentes aquas 770 

non captat oblitus sitim, 
maestus future funere ; 
exultat et ponit gradus 
pater decoros Dardanus. 

CHORVS 

lam pervagatus ipse se fregit furor, 
caditque flexo qualis ante aras genii 
cervice taurus vulnus incertum gerens. 
relevemus artus. en deos tandem suos 
victrice lauru cinctus Agamemnon adit, 
et festa coniunx obvios illi tulit 780 

gressus reditque iuncta concordi gradu. 

AGAMEMNON 

Tandem revertor sospes ad patrios lares ; 
o cara salve terra, tibi tot barbarae 

1 Leo remarks upon the unintelligibility of II. 766-768. 
62 



AGAMEMNON 

covering of that dark world, that on Mycenae the 
shadowy throng of Phrygians may look forth. Be- 
hold, poor souls ; the fates turn backward on them- 
selves. 

759 They press on, the squalid sisters, their bloody 
lashes brandishing ; their left hands half-burned 
torches bear ; bloated are their pallid cheeks, and 
dusky robes of death their hollow loins encircle ; 
the fearsome cries of night resound, and a huge 
body's bones, rotting with long decay, lie in a slimy 
marsh. 1 And see ! that spent old man, 2 forgetting 
thirst, no longer catches at the mocking waters, 
grieving at death 3 to come ; but father Dardanus 
exults and walks along with stately tread. 

CHORUS 

Now has her rambling frenzy spent itself, and 
falls, as before the altar with sinking knees falls the 
bull, receiving an ill-aimed stroke upon his neck. 
Let us lift up her body. But lo ! at last to his own 
gods, wreathed with victorious bay, Agamemnon 
comes ; his wife with joy has gone forth to meet 
him, and now returns, joining her steps in harmony 
with his. 

[Enter AGAMEMNON. He has been met and greeted by 
his wife, mho enters with him and goes on alone into 
the palaceJ\ 

AGAMEMNON 

At length am I returned in safety to my father's 
house. O dear land, hail ! To thee many barbaric 

1 If Seneca wrote lines 766-768, he may have had some 
definite reference in his mind unknown to us, or he may have 
meant merely to add further gruesome detail to the picture. 

2 Tantalus. 

3 i.e. of Agamemnon, great-grandson of Tantalus. 

63 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

dedere gentes spolia, tibi felix diu 

potentis Asiae Troia summisit manus. 

quid ista vates corpus effusa ac tremens 

dubia labat cervice ? famuli, attollite, 

refovete gelido latice. iam recipit diem 

marcente visu. suscita sensus tuos ! 

optatus ille portus aerumnis adest. 790 

festus dies est. 

CASSANDRA 

Festus et Troiae fuit. 

AGAMEMNON 

Veneremur aras. 

CASSANDRA 

Cecidit ante aras pater. 

AGAMEMNON 

lovem precemur pariter. 

CASSANDRA 

Herceum lovem ? 

AGAMEMNON 

Credis videre te Ilium ? 

CASSANDRA 

Et Priam um simul 

AGAMEMNON 

Hie Troia non est. 

CASSANDRA 

Vbi Helena est Troiam puto. 

1 Cassandra. 3 See Vergil, A en. n. 249. 

3 It was at the altar of Hercean Jove that Priam was 
slain (A en. u. 512 fif.). 

64 



AGAMEMNON 

nations have given spoil, to thee proud Asia's Troy, 
long blest of heaven, has yielded. Why does the 
priestess l there faint and fall tottering with droop- 
ing head ? Slaves, lift her up, revive her with cool 
water. Now with languid gaze she again beholds 
the light. [To CASSANDRA.] Awake to life ! that 
longed for haven from our woes is here ; this is a 
festal day. 

CASSANDRA 

'Twas festal, 2 too, at Troy. 

AGAMEMNON 

Let us kneel before the altar. 

CASSANDRA 

Before the altar my father fell. 

AGAMEMNON 

To Jove let us pray together. 

CASSANDRA 

Hercean Jove ? 3 

AGAMEMNON 

Dost think thou lookst on Ilium? 

CASSANDRA 

And Priam, too. 

AGAMEMNON 

Here is not Troy. 

CASSANDRA 

Where a Helen 4 is, I think is Troy. 

4 i.e. an evil, adulterous woman such as Helen. Helen 
was not in Greece at this time. The reference is obviously 
to Clytemnestra. 

65 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

AGAMEMNON 

Ne metue dominnm famula. 

CASSANDRA 

Libertas adest. 

AGAMEMNON 

Sectira vive. 

CASSANDRA 

Mihi mori est securitas. 

AGAMEMNON 

Nullum est periclum tibimet. 

CASSANDRA 

At magnum tibi 

AGAMEMNON 

Victor timere quid potest ? 

CASSANDRA 

Quod non timet. 

AGAMEMNON 

Hanc fida famuli turba, dum excutiat deum, 800 
retinete ne quid impotens peccet furor, 
at te, pater, qui saeva torques fulmina 
pellisque nubes, sidera et terras regis, 
ad quern triumphi spolia victores ferunt, 
et te sororem cuncta pollentis viri, 
Argolica luno, pecore votivo libens 
Arabumque donis supplice et fibra colam. 

1 Cassandra is supposed to be still under the influence of 
Apollo. 

66 



AGAMEMNON 

AGAMEMNON 

Fear thou no mistress, though a slave. 

CASSANDRA 

Freedom is near at hand. 

AGAMEMNON 

Live on, secure. 

CASSANDRA 

For me, death is security. 

AGAMEMNON 

For thee there is naught to fear. 

CASSANDRA 

But much for thee. 

AGAMEMNON 

What can a victor fear? 

CASSANDRA 

What he doth not fear. 

AGAMEMNON 

Ye faithful slaves, restrain her till she throw off 
the god, 1 lest in her wild frenzy she do some harm. 
But thee, O father, who the dire thunder hurlest, 
and driv'st the clouds, who the stars and lands dost 
rule, to whom in triumph victors bring their spoils; 
and thee, sister of thine almighty lord, Argolian 
Juno, gladly with votive flocks, with gifts 2 from 
Araby, and with suppliant offerings of entrails will 
1 adore. 

[Exit into the palace.] 

a Incense. en 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

CHORVS 

Argos nobilibus nobile civibus, 
Argos iratae carum novercae, 
semper ingentes alumnos 810 

educas, numerum deorum 
imparem aequasti. tuus ille 
bis seno meruit labore 
adlegi caelo 

magnus Alcides, cui lege mundi 
Iup])iter rupta geminavit boras 
roscidae noctis iussitque Phoebum 
tardius celeres agitare currus 
et tuas lente remeare bigas, 
pallida Phoebe ; 
rettulit pedem 

nomen alternis stella quae mutat 820 

seque mirata est Hesperum dici ; 
Aurora movit ad solitas vices 
caput et relabens imposuit seni 
collura marito. 
sensit ortus, sensit occasus 
Herculem nasci ; violentus ille 
nocte non una poterat creari. 
tibi concitatus substitit mini d us, 
o puer subiture caelum. 

Te sensit Nemeaeus arto 

pressus lacerto fulraineus leo 830 

cervaque Parrhasis, 
sensit Arcadii populator agri, 

1 i.e. to Juno, constantly angered by the children of Jove's 
mistresses. 

2 Farnabius thus explains this curious statement : the 
deification of Hercules (to which Juno at last consented) 
added to the number, not of the great gods, who were 

68 



AGAMEMNON 

CHORUS OF ARGIVE WOMEN 

O Argos, ennobled by thy noble citizens, Argos, 
dear to the step-dame though enraged, 1 ever mighty 
sons thou fosterest and hast made even 2 the odd 
number of the gods. That hero of thine by his 
twelve labours earned the right to be chosen for the 
skies, great Hercules, for whom, 3 the world's law- 
broken, Jove doubled the hours of dewy night, bade 
Phoebus more slowly drive his hastening car, and thy 
team to turn back with laggard feet, O pale Phoebe. 
Backward the star turned his steps, the star who 
changes from name to name, 4 and marvelled still to 
be called Hesperus, evening star. Aurora stirred at 
the accustomed hour of dawn, but, sinking back, laid 
her head and neck upon the breast of her aged hus- 
band. 5 The rising, yea, and the setting of the sun 
felt the birth of Hercules ; a hero so mighty could 
not be begotten in a single night. For thee the 
whirling universe stood still, O boy, destined to 
mount the skies. 

829 The lightning-swift lion of Nemea felt thy 
power, crushed by thy straining arms, and the 
Parrhasian hind, the ravager 6 of Arcady's fields, felt 

twelve in number, but of the gods of the second rank (diis 
communibus), three in number Mais, Bellona, and Victoria 
-thus making even the number which had been odd. 

3 i.e. for his begetting. See Here. Fur 11 24 and 1158. 

4 i.e. it is now called Lucifer and now Hesperus, according 
as it is morning or evening star. 

6 Tithonus. 

The Erymanthian boar. 

69 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

gemuitque taurus Dictaea linquens 

horridus arva. 

morte fecundum domuit draconem 

vetuitque collo pereunte nasci, 

geminosque fratres 

pectore ex uno tria monstra natos 

stipite incusso fregit insultans, 

duxitque ad ortus Hesperium pecus, 840 

Geryonae spolium triformis. 

egit Threicium gregem, 

quern non Strymonii gramine fluminis 

Hebrive ripis pavit tyrannus ; 

hospitum dirus stabulis cruorem 

praebuit saevis tinxitque crudos 

ultimus rictus sanguis aurigae. 

vidit Hippolyte ferox 

pectore e medio rapi 

spolium, et sagittis 

nube percussa Stymphalis alto 850 

decidit caelo ; 

arborque pomis fertilis aureis 

extimuit manus insueta carpi 

fugitque in auras leviore ramo. 

audivit sonitum crepitante lamna 

frigidus custos nescius somni, 

linqueret cum iam nemus omne fulvo 

plenus Alcides vacuum metallo. 

tractus ad caelum canis inferorum 

triplici catena tacuit nee ullo 860 

latravit ore, 

lucis ignotae metuens colorem. 

1 It was the nature of the hydra that as each head was cut 
off two appeared in its place. 

2 yeminoa here = triyeminos, referring to the triple-man 
monster, Geryon. 

70 



AGAMEMNON 

thee, too, and loud bellowed the savage bull, leaving 
the fields of Crete. The hydra, fertile in death, he 
overcame and forbade new births from each neck 
destroyed; 1 the mated 2 brethren, springing three 
monsters from a single body, he crushed, leaping on 
them with his crashing club, and brought to the 
east the western herd, spoil of the three-formed 
Geryon. He drove the Thracian herd 3 which the 
tyrant fed, not on the grass of the Strymon or on 
the banks of the Hebrus ; cruel, he offered his savage 
horses the gore of strangers and the blood of their 
driver 4 was the last to stain red their jaws. Warlike 
Hippolyte saw the spoil 5 snatched from about her 
breast ; and by his shafts down from the riven cloud 
from high heaven fell the Stymphalian bird. The 
tree, laden with golden fruit, shrank from his hands, 
unused to such plucking, and the bough, relieved of 
its burden, sprang into the air. The cold, sleepless 
guardian 6 heard the sound of the clinking metal, 
only when heavy laden Alcides was leaving the grove 
all stripped of its tawny gold. Dragged to the upper 
world by triple fetters, the infernal dog was silent, 
nor with any mouth did he bay, shrinking from the 
hues of unexperienced light. Under thy leader- 

3 The man-eating horses of Diomedes, tyrant of Thrace. 

4 i.e. Hercules gave Diomedes to his own horses to devour. 
6 The famous golden girdle. 

' The dragon, set to guard the golden apples. 

71 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

te duce succidit 

mendax Dardanidae domus 

et sensit arcus iterum timendos ; 

te duce concidit 

totidem diebus Troia quot annis. 

CASSANDRA 

Res agitur intus magna, par annis decem. 
eheu quid hoc est ? anime, consurge et cape 
pretium furoris vicimus victi Phryges ! 
bene est, resurgit Troia ; traxisti iacens, 870 

parens, Mycenas, terga dat victor tuus ! 
tarn clara numquam providae mentis furor 
ostendit oculis ; video et intersum et fruor ; 
imago visus dubia non fallit meos ; 
spectemus. 

Epulae regia instructae domo, 
quales fuerunt ultimae Phrygibus dapes, 
celebrantur ; ostro lectus Iliaco nitet 
merumque in auro veteris Assaraci trahunt. 
en ipse picta veste sublimis iacet, 
Priaini superbas corpore exuvias gerens. 880 

detrahere cultus uxor hostiles iubet, 
induere potius coniugis fidae manu 
textos amictus horreo atque animo tremo ! 
regemne perimet exul et adulter virum ? 
venere fata, sanguinem extremae dapes 
domini videbunt et cruor Baccho incidet. 
mortifera vinctum perfide tradit neci 
induta vestis ; exitum manibus negant 

1 In the time of Laomedon. 

* The arrows of Hercules in the hands of Philoctetes 
assisted in the final fall of Troy under Priam. 
3 She either stands where she can see the interior of the 

72 



AGAMEMNON 

ship fell the lying house 1 of Dardanus and suffered 
the arrows, once again 2 to be feared ; under thy 
leadership in as many days Troy fell as it took years 
thereafter. 

CASSANDRA [alone upon ike stage] 8 

A great deed is done within, a match for ten years 
of war. Ah ! What is this ? Rise up, my soul, and 
take the reward of thy madness we are conquerors, 
we conquered Phrygians ! Tis well ! Troy has risen 
again ! In thy fall, O father, thou hast dragged 
down Mycenae ; thy conqueror gives way ! Never 
before did my mind's prophetic frenzy give sight to 
mine eyes so clear ; I see, I am in the midst of it, I 
revel in it ; 'tis no doubtful image cheats my sight ; 
let me gaze my fill. 

875 A feast is spread within the royal house and 
thronged with guests, like that last banquet of the 
Phrygians; the couches gleam with Trojan purple, 
and their wine they quaff from the golden cups of 
old Assaracus. Lo, he himself 4 in broidered vest- 
ments lies on lofty couch, wearing on his body the 
proud spoils of Priam. His wife bids him doff the 
raiment of his foe and don instead a mantle her own 
fond hands have woven I shudder and my soul 
trembles at the sight! Shall an exile 5 slay a king? 
an adulterer 5 the husband? The fatal hour has 
come. The banquet's close shall see the master's 
blood, and gore shall fall into the wine. The deadly 
mantle he has put on delivers him bound treacher- 
ously to his doom ; the loose, impenetrable folds 

palace, and describes what is going on within, or else she 
sees it by clairvoyant power. 

4 Agamemnon. * Aegisthus. 

73 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

caputque laxi et invii claudunt sinus. 

haurit trementi semivir dextra latus, 890 

nee penitus egit ; vulnere in medio stupet. 

at ille, ut altis hispidus silvis aper 

cum casse vinctus temptat egressus tamen 

artatque motu vincla et in cassum furit, 

cupit fluentes undique et caecos sinus 

disicere et hostem quaerit implicitus suum. 

armat bipenni Tyndaris dextram furens, 

qualisque ad aras colla taurorum popa 

designat oculis antequam ferro petat, 

sic hue et illuc impiam librat manum. 900 

habet ! peractum est ! pendet exigua male 

caput amputatum parte et hinc trunco cruor 

exundat, illic ora cum fremitu iacent. 

nondum recedunt ; ille iam exanimem petit 

laceratque corpus, ilia fodientem adiuvat. 

uterque tanto scelere respondet suis 

est hie Thyeste natus, haec Helenae soror. 

stat ecce Titan dubius emerito die, 

suane currat an Thyestea via. 



ELECTRA 

Fuge, o paternae mortis auxilium unicum, 910 
fuge et scelestas hostium vita manus. 
eversa domus est funditus, regna occidunt. 

Hospes quis iste concitos currus agit ? 
germane, vultus veste furabor tuos. 

1 i.e. Clytemnestra, daughter of Tyndareus. 

2 i.e. the wound. The formula is taken from the gladia- 
torial contests. 

74 



AGAMEMNON 

refuse outlet to his hands and enshroud his head. 
With trembling right hand the half-man stabs at his 
side, but hath not driven deep ; in mid stroke he 
stands as one amazed. But he, as in the deep woods 
a bristling boar, though with the net entangled, still 
tries for freedom, and by his struggling draws close 
his bonds and rages all in vain, he strives to throw 
off the blinding folds all around him floating, and, 
though closely enmeshed, seeks for his foe. Now 
Tyndaris 1 in mad rage snatches a two-edged axe 
and, as at the altar the priest marks with his eye the 
oxen's necks before he strikes, so, now here, now 
there, her impious hand she aims. He has it ! 2 the 
deed is done ! The scarce severed head hangs by a 
slender part ; here blood streams o'er his headless 
trunk, there lie his moaning lips. And not yet do 
they give o'er ; he attacks the already lifeless man, 
and keeps hacking at the corpse ; she helps him in 
the stabbing. Each one in this dire crime answers 
to his own kin he is Thyestes' son, she, Helen's 
sister. See, Titan, the day's work done, stands 
hesitant whether his own or Thyestes' 3 course to run. 

[Remains beside the altar. 
[Enter ELECTRA, leading her young brother , ORESTES.] 

ELECTRA 

Fly, O sole avenger of our father's death, fly and 
escape our enemies' miscreant hands. O'erthrown 
is our house to its foundations, our kingdom fallen. 

913 But who is yonder stranger, driving his chariot 
at speed ? Come brother, I will hide thee 'neath my 

3 i.e. backward as on the occasion of Thyestes' banquet on 
his own sons. 

75 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 
quid, anime demens, refugis ? externos times? 
domus timenda est. pone iam trepidos metus, 
Oresta ; amici fida praesidia intuor. 



STROI'HIVS 

Phocide relicta Strophius Elea inclutus 
palma revertor. causa veniendi fuit 
gratari amico, cuius impulsum manu Q20 

cecidit decenni Marte concussum Ilium, 
quaenam ista lacrimis lugubrem vultum rigat 
pavetque maesta ? regium agnosco genus. 
Electra ! fletus causa quae laeta in domo est ? 

ELECTRA 

Pater peremptus scelere materno iacet, 
comes paternae quaeritur natus neci, 
Aegisthus arces Venere quaesitas tenet. 

STIIOPHIVS 
O nulla longi temporis felicitas ' 

ELECTRA 

Per te parentis memoriam obtestor mei, 
per sceptra terris nota, per dubios deos ; 930 

recipe hunc Oresten ac pium furtum occule. 



76 



AGAMEMNON 

robe. Why, foolish heart, dost thou shrink away ? 
Strangers dost fear? Tis our home that must be 
feared. Put away now thy trembling dread, Orestes ; 
the trusty protection of a friend I see. 

[Enter STROPHIUS in a chariot, accompanied by his son 

PY LADES.] 
STROPHIUS 

I, Strophius, had Phocis left, and now am home 
returning, made glorious by the Elean palm. The 
cause of my coming hither was to congratulate my 
friend, o'erthrown by whose hand and crushed by 
ten years of war has Ilium fallen. [He notices 
ELECTRA'S distress.] But who is that yonder, watering 
her sad face with tears, fear-struck and sorrowful ? 
One of the royal house I recognize. Electra ! What 
cause of weeping can be in this glad house ? 

ELECTRA 

My father lies murdered by my mother's crime ; 
they seek the son to share in his father's death ; 
Aegisthus holds the throne by guilty love secured. 

STROPHIUS 
Alas ! no happiness is of lengthened stay. 

ELECTRA 

By the memory of my father I beseech thee, by 
his sceptre known to all the world, by the fickle 
gods : l take this boy, Orestes, and hide the holy 
theft. 

1 Who may bring quick downfall to thee also. 

77 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

STROPHIVS 

Etsi timendum caesus Agamemnon docet, 
aggrediar et te, Oresta, furabor libens. 
fidem secunda poscunt, adversa exigunt. 1 
cape hoc decorum ludicri certaminis, 
insigne frontis ; laeva victricem tenens 
frondem virenti protegat ramo caput, 
et ista donum palma Pisaei lovis 
velamen eadem praestet atque omen tibi. 
tuque o paternis assidens frenis comes, 940 

condisce, Pylade, patris exemplo fidem. 
vos Graecia nunc teste veloces equi 
infida cursu fugite praecipiti loca. 

ELECTRA 

Excessit, abiit, currus effreno impetu 
effugit aciem. tuta iam opperiar meos 
hostes et ultro vulneri opponam caput. 

Adest cruenta coniugis victrix sui 
et signa caedis veste maculata gerit. 
manus recenti sanguine etiamnunc madent 
vultusque prae se scelera truculenti ferunt. 950 

concedam ad aras. patere me vittis tuis, 
Cassandra, iungi paria metuentem tibi. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Hostis parentis, impium atque audax caput, 
quo more coetus publicos virgo petis ? 

1 Leo deletes this line, following Peiper. 

1 Of olive. 2 Of palm. s In the Olympic games. 
78 



AGAMEMNON 

STROPHIUS 

Although murdered Agamemnon warns me to 
beware, I will brave the danger and gladly, Orestes, 
will I steal thee off. Good fortune asks for faith, 
adversity demands it. [Takes ORESTES into the chariot .] 
Take thou this crown, 1 won in the games, as an orna- 
ment for thy head, and, holding this victor's bough 2 
in thy left hand, shield thy face with its great branch, 
and may that palm, the gift of Pisaean Jove, afford 
thee at once a covering and an omen. And do 
thou, Pylades, who standest as comrade to guide thy 
father's car, learn faith from the example of thy sire. 
And now, do you, my horses, whose speed all Greece 
has seen, 3 flee from this treacherous place in head- 
long flight. [Exeunt at great speed. 

ELECTRA [looking after them] 

He has departed, gone, his car at a reckless pace 
has vanished from my sight. Now free from care 
shall I await my foes, and willingly oppose myself to 
death. [She sees CLYTEMNESTRA approaching.] 

947 Here is the bloody conqueror of her lord, with 
the signs of murder on her blood-stained robe. Her 
hands are still reeking with blood fresh-spilled, and 
her savage features bear tokens of her crime. I'll 
take me to the altar. Let me be joined, Cassandra, 
with thy fillets, 4 since I fear like doom with thee. 

[Etlter CLYTEMNESTRA.] 
CLYTEMNESTRA 

Foe of thy mother, unfilial and froward girl, 
by what custom dost thou, a maid, seek public 
gatherings ? 

4 i.e. let me join her who with the sacred fillets on her 
head has taken refuge at the altar. 

79 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

ELECTHA 

Adulterorum virgo deserui domum. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Quis esse credat virginem? 

ELECTRA 

Natam tuam ? 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Modestius cum matre ! 

ELECTRA 

Pietatem doces ? 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Animos viriles corde tumefacto geris 
sed agere domita feminam disces malo. 

ELECTRA 

Nisi forte fall or, feminas ferrum decet. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Et esse demens te parem nobis putas ? 

ELECTRA 

Vobis ? quis iste est alter Agamemnon tuus ? 
ut vidua loquere ; vir caret vita tuus. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Indomita posthac virginis verba impiae 
regina frangam ; citius interea mihi 
edissere ubi sit natus, ubi frater tuus. 



80 



AGAMEMNON 

ELECTRA 

Because I am a maid have I left the adulterers' 
home. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Who would believe thee maid ? 

ELECTRA 

A child of thine? 1 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

More gently with thy mother ! 

ELECTRA 

Dost thou teach piety ? 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Thou hast a mannish soul, a heart puffed up ; but, 
tamed by suffering, shalt thou learn to play a 
woman's part. 

ELECTRA 

If perchance, I mistake not, a sword befits a 
woman. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

And thinkest thou, mad one, thou art a match 
for us ? 

ELECTRA 

For you ? What other Agamemnon is that of 
thine ? Speak thou as widow ; lifeless is thy lord. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

The unbridled tongue of an unfilial girl hereafter 
as queen I'll check ; meanwhile be quick and tell 
where is my son, where is thy brother. 

1 i.e. surely no one, since I am thy child. 

81 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

ELECTRA 



Extra Mycenas. 



CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Redde nunc natum mihi. 

ELECTRA 

Et tu parentem redde. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Quo latitat loco ? 

ELECTRA 

Tuto quietus, regna non metuens nova ; 
iustae parent! satis. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

At iratae parum. 970 

morieris liodie. 

ELECTRA 

Dummodo hac moriar manu. 
recedo ab aris. sive te iugulo iuvat 
mersisse ferrum, praebeo iugulum tibi ; 
seu more pecudum colla resecari placet, 
intenta cervix vulnus expectat tuum. 
scelus paratum est ; caede respersam viri 
atque obsoletam sanguine hoc dextram ablue. 



CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Consors pericli pariter ac regni mei, 
Aegisthe, gradere. nata genetricem impie 
probris lacessit, occulit fratrem abditum. 980 

82 



AGAMEMNON 

ELECTRA 

Far from Mycenae. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Restore me now my son. 

ELECTRA 

And do thou restore my father. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Where does he hide ? 

ELECTRA 

In peace and safety, where he fears no new-made 
king ; for a righteous mother 'tis enough. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

But too little for an angry one. Thou shalt die 
this day. 

ELECTRA 

So but it be by this hand of thine. I leave the 
altar. If 'tis thy pleasure in my throat to plunge 
the sword, 1 offer my throat to thee ; or if, as men 
smite sheep, thou wouldst cut off my neck, my bent 
neck waits thy stroke. The crime is ready ; thy 
right hand, smeared and rank with a husband's 
slaughter, purge with this blood of mine. 

[Enter AEGISTHUS.] 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Thou partner equally in my perils and my throne, 
Aegisthus, come. My child undutifully insults her 
mother, and keeps her brother hidden. 

83 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

AEGISTHVS 

Furibunda virgo, vocis infandae sonurn 
et aure verba indigna materna opprime. 

ELECTRA 

Etiam monebit sceleris infandi artifex, 
per scelera natus, nomen ambiguum suis, 
idem sororis natus et patris nepos ? 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Aegisthe, cessas impium ferro caput 
demetere ? fratrem reddat aut animam statim. 

AEGISTHVS 

Abstrusa caeco carcere et saxo exigat 
aevum, et per omnes torta poenarum modos 
referre quern nunc occulit forsan volet. 990 

inops egens inclusa, paedore obruta, 
vidua ante thalamos, exul, invisa omnibus 
aethere negate sero subcumbet malis. 

ELECTRA 

Concede mortem. 

AEGISTHVS 

Si recusares, darem. 
rudis est tyrannus morte qui poenam exigit. 

ELECTRA 

Mortem aliquid ultra est* 
84 



AGAMEMNON 

AEGISTHUS 

Mad girl, hold thy impious tongue, and speak not 
words unworthy thy mother's ears. 

ELECTRA 

Shall he e'en give instructions, the worker of an 
impious crime, one criminally begot, whom even his 
own parents cannot name, son of his sister, grandson 
of his sire ? 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Aegisthus, why dost hesitate to strike off her 
wicked head with the sword ? Let her at once give 
up her brother or her life. 

AEGISTHUS 

Mured in a dark, rocky dungeon shall she spend 
her life and, by all kinds of tortures racked, perchance 
she will consent to give back him she now conceals. 
Resourceless, starving, in prison pent, buried in filth, 
widowed ere wedded, in exile, scorned by all, denied 
the light of day, then will she, though too late, yield 
to her doom. 

ELECTRA 

Oh, grant me death. 

AEGISTHUS 

Shouldst plead against, I'd grant. An unskilled 
tyrant he who punishes by death. 

ELECTRA 

Is aught worse than death ? 

85 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

AEGISTHVS 

Vita, si cupias niori. 

abripite, famuli, monstrum et avectam procul 
ultra Mycenas ultimo in regni angulo 
vincite saeptam nocte tenebrosi specus, 
ut inquietam virginem career domet. 100<; 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

At ista poeiias capite persolvet suo 
captiva coniunx, regii paelex tori, 
trahite, ut sequatur coniugem ereptum mihi. 

CASSANDRA 

Ne trahite, vestros ipsa praecedam gradus. 
perferre prima nuntium Phrygibus meis 
propero repletum ratibus eversis mare, 
captas Mycenas, mille ductorem ducum, 
ut paria fata Troicis lueret malis, 
perisse dono feminae stupro, dolo. 
nihil moramur, rapite, quin grates ago. 1010 

iam, iam iuvat vixisse post Troiam, iuvat. 

CLYTAEMNESTRA 

Furiosa, morere. 

CASSANDRA 

V r eniet et vobis furor. 



AGAMEMNON 

AEGISTHUS 

Yes, life, if thou longest to die. Away, ye slaves, 
with this unnatural girl ; far from Mycenae bear her, 
and in the remotest corner of the realm chain her 
immured in the black darkness of a cell, that prison 
walls may curb the unmanageable maid. [ELECTRA 
is dragged away.] 

CLYTEMNESTRA [indicating CASSANDRA] 

But she shall pay her penalty with death, that 
captive bride, that mistress of the royal bed. Drag 
her away, that she may follow the husband whom she 
stole from me. 

CASSANDRA 

Nay, drag me not, I will precede your going. I 
hasten to be first to bear news unto my Phrygians 
of the sea covered with the wrecks of ships, of 
Mycenae taken, of the leader of a thousand leaders 
(that so he might meet doom equal to Troy's woes) 
slain by a woman's gift by adultery, by guile. Take 
me away ; I hold not back, but rather give you 
thanks. Now, now 'tis sweet to have outlived Troy, 
'tis sweet. 

CLYTEMNESTRA 

Mad creature, thou shalt die. 

CASSANDRA 

On you, as well, a madness is to come. 1 

1 Referring to the madness of Orestes, who is later to slay 
both Aegisthus and Clytemnestra. 



THYESTES 



DRAMATIS PERSONAE 



THYESTES, brother of Atreus, in exile from his fatherland. 

THE GHOST OF TANTALUS, doomed for his sing to come back to 
earth and inspire his house to greater sin. 

THE FURY, who drives the ghost on to do his allotted part. 

ATREUS, king of Argot, grandson of Tantalus, who has 
quarrelled with his brother and driven him into exile. 

AN ATTENDANT OF ATREUS. 

THREE SONS OF THYESTES, Tantalus, Plisthenes, and another, 
only one of whom, Tantalus, takes part in the dialogue. 

A MESSENGER. 

CHORUS, Citizens of Mycenae. 

THE SCENE is laid partly without the city of Argos, and 
partly within the royal palace. 



ARGUMENT 

PELOPS, the son of Tantalus, had banished his sons for 
the murder of their half-brother, Chi-ysippus, with a 
curse upon them, that they and their posterity might 
perish by each others' hands. Upon the death of Pelops, 
Atreus returned and took possession of his father s 
throne. Thyestes, also, claimed the throne, and sought to 
&am it by the foulest means. For he seduced his 
brother s wife, Acrope, and stole by her assistance the 
magical, gold-Jleeced ram from Atreus' flocks, upon the 
possession of which the right to rule was said to rest. 
For this act he was banished by the king. 

But Atreus has long been meditating a more complete 
revenge upon his brother ; and now in pretended friend- 
ship has recalled him from banishment, offering him a 
place beside himself upon the throne, that thus he may 
have Thyestes entirely in his power. 



THYESTES 

TANTALI VMBRA 

Quis inferorum sede ab infausta extrahit 
avido fugaces ore captantem cibos, 
quis male deorum Tantaio vivas l domos 
ostendit iterum ? peius inventura est siti 
arente in undis aliquid et peius fame 
hiante semper ? Sisyphi numquid lapis 
gestandus umeris lubricus nostris venit 
aut membra celeri differens cursu rota, 
aut poena Tityi qui specu vasto patens 
visceribus atras pascit effossis aves 10 

et nocte reparans quidquid amisit die 
plenum recenti pabulum monstro iacet ? 
in quod malum transcribor ? o quisquis nova 
supplicia functis durus umbrarum arbiter 
disponis, addi si quid ad poenas potest 
quod ipse custos carceris diri horreat, 
quod maestus Acheron paveat, ad cuius metum 
nos quoque tremamus, quaere, iam nostra subit 
e stirpe turba quae suum vincat genus 
ac me innocentem faciat et inausa audeat. 20 

regione quidquid impia cessat loci 
complebo ; numquam stante Pelopea domo 
Minos .vacabit. 

1 So A : too visas, with E : invisas N. Heinsius. 
92 



THYESTES 

THE GHOST OF TANTALUS 

WHO from the accursed regions of the dead haleth 
me forth, snatching at food which ever fleeth from 
my hungry lips ? What god for his undoing showeth 
again to Tantalus the abodes of the living ? Hath 
something worse been found than parching thirst 
midst water, worse than ever-gaping hunger ? Cometh 
the slippery stone of Sisyphus to be borne upon my 
shoulders ? or the wheel l stretching apart my limbs 
in its swift round ? or Tityus' pangs, who, stretched 
in a huge cavern, with torn out vitals feeds the dusky 

O . 

birds and, by night renewing whate'er he lost by day, 
lies an undiminished banquet for new monsters ? 
To what new suffering am I shifted ? O whoe'er thou 
art, harsh judge of shades, who dost allot fresh pun- 
ishments to the dead, if aught can be added to my 
sufferings whereat e'en the guardian of our dread 
prison-house would quake, whereat sad Acheron would 
be seized with dread, with fear whereof 1, too, should 
tremble, seek thou it out. Now from my seed a 
multitude is coming up which its own race shall 
out-do, which shall make me seem innocent, and 
dare things yet undared. Whatever space is still 
empty in the unholy realm, I 2 shall fill up ; never, 
while Pelops' house is standing, will Minos 8 be at 

rest. 

1 Of Ixion. a i.e. with my descendants. 
8 A judge in Hades. 

93 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

FVKIA 

Perge, detestabilis 
umbra, et penates impios furiis age. 
certetur omni scelere et alterna vice 
stringatur ensis ; ne sit irarum modus 
pudorve, mentes caecus instiget furor, 
rabies parentum duret et longum nefas 
eat in nepotes ; nee vacet cuiquam vetus 
odisse crimen semper oriatur novum, SO 

nee unum in uno, dumque punitur seel us, 
crescat. superbis fratribus regna excidant 
repetantque profugos ; dubia violentae domus 
fortuna reges inter incertos labet ; 
miser ex potente fiat, ex misero potens 
fluctuque regnum casus assiduo ferat. 
ob scelera pulsi, cum dabit patriam deus 
in scelera redeant, sintque tarn invisi omnibus, 
quam sibi ; nihil sit ira quod vetitum putet : 
fratrem expavescat frater et natum parens 40 

natusque patrem, liberi pereant male, 
peius tamen nascantur ; immineat viro 
infesta coniunx, bella trans pontum vehant, 
effusus omnes irriget terras cruor, 
supraque magnos gentium exultet duces 
Libido victrix. impia stuprum in domo 
levissimum sit ; fratris et fas et fides 
iusque omne pereat. non sit a vestris malis 
immune caelum cur micant stellae polo 
flammaeque servant debitum mundo decus ? 50 



1 Let the brothers, Atreus and Thyestes, reign, fall, be 
exiled and recalled, each in turn. In the present case Atreus 
94 



THYESTES 

THE FURY 

Onward, damned shade, and goad thy sinful house 
to madness. Let there be rivalry in guilt of every 
kind ; let the sword be drawn on this side and on 
that ; let their passions know no bounds, no shame ; 
let blind fury prick on their souls ; heartless be 
parents' rage, and to children's children let the long 
trail of sin lead down ; let time be given to none to 
hate old sins ever let new arise, many in one, and 
let crime, e'en midst its punishment, increase. From 
haughty brothers' hands let kingdoms fall, and in 
turn let them call back the fugitives ; l let the waver- 
ing fortune of a home of violence midst changing 
kings totter to its fall ; from power to wretchedness, 
from wretchedness to power may this befall, and 
may chance with her ever-restless waves bear the 
kingdom on. For crimes' sake exiled, when God 
shall bring them home, to crime may they return, 
and may they be as hateful to all men as to them- 
selves ; let there be naught which passion deems un- 
allowed ; let brother brother fear, father fear son, 
and son father ; let children vilely perish and be yet 
more vilely born ; let a murderous wife lift hand 
against her husband, let wars pass over sea, let 
streaming blood drench every land, and over the 
mighty chiefs of earth let Lust exult, triumphant. 
In this sin-stained house let shameful defilement be 
a trivial thing ; let fraternal sanctity and faith and 
every right be trampled under foot. By our sins let 
not heaven be untainted why do the stars glitter in 
the sky ? Why do their fires preserve the glory due 
the world? Let the face of night be changed, let 

is on the throne, and Thyestes, who has been exiled, is 
recalled. 

95 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

nox alia fiat, excidat caelo dies, 
misce penates, odia caedes funera 
arcesse et imple Tantalo totam domum. 1 
Ornetur altum columen et lauro fores 
laetae virescant, dignus adventu tuo 
splendescat ignis Thracium fiat nefas 
maiore numero. dextra cur patrui vacat? 
nondum Thyestes liberos deflet suos 
et quando toilet? ignibus iam subditis 
spument aena, membra per partes eant 60 

discerpta, patrios polluat sanguis focos, 
epulae instruantur non novi sceleris tibi 
conviva venies. liberum dedimus diem 
tuamque ad istas solvimus mensas famem ; 
ieiunia exple, mixtus in Bacchum cruor 
spectante te potetur ; inveni dapes 
quas ipse fugeres siste, quo praeceps ruis ? 



TANTALI VMBRA 

Ad stagna et amnes et recedentes aquas 
labrisque ab ipsis arboris plenae fugas. 
abire in atrum carceris liceat mei 70 

cubile, liceat, si parum videor miser, 
mutare ripas ; alveo medius tuo, 
Phlegethon, relinquar igneo cinctus freto. 

Quicumque poenas lege fatorum datas 
pati iuberis, quisquis exeso iaces 
pavidus sub antro iamque venturi times 
montis ruinam, quisquis avidorum feros 
rictus leonum et dira Furiarum agmina 

1 imple scelere Tantaleam domum A. 

1 Procne and her wronged sister, Philomela, served up 
Itys as a banquet to his father, Tereus, king of Thrace. 
a i.e. with the murder of three sons instead of one. 

96 



THYESTES 

day fall from heaven. Embroil thy household gods, 
summon up hatred, slaughter, death, and fill the 
whole house with Tantalus. 

64 Adorn the lofty pillar and with laurel let the 
festal doors be green ; let torches worthy of thine 
approach shine forth then let the Thracian crime 1 
be done with greater number. 2 Why is the uncle's 8 
hand inactive ? Not yet does Thyestes bewail his 
sons and when will he lift his hand ? Now set o'er 
the flames let cauldrons foam ; let the rent members 
one by one pass in ; let the ancestral hearth be stained 
with blood, let the feast be spread to no novel feast 
of crime 4 wilt come as banqueter. To-day have we 
made thee free, have loosed thy hunger to the banquet 
yonder; go, feed full thy fasting, and let blood, with 
wine commingled, be drunk before thine eyes. I 
have found feast which thou thvself wouldst flee 

/ 

but stay ! Whither dost headlong rush ? 

GHOST OF TANTALUS 

Back to my pools and streams and fleeing waters, 
back to the laden tree which shuns my very lips. 
Let me return to the black couch of my prison-house; 
let it be mine, if I seem too little wretched, to change 

' O 

my stream ; in thy bed's midst, O Phlegethon, let 
me be left, hemmed round with waves of fire. 

74 Whoe'er thou art, by the fates' law bidden to 
suffer allotted punishment; whoe'er liest quaking 
beneath the hollowed rock, and fearest the downfall 
of the mountainous mass even now coming on thee ; 5 
whoe'er shudderest at the fierce gaping of greedy 
lions, and, entangled in their toils, dost shudder at 

8 i.e. Atreus. 4 See Index s. v. Pelops. 

5 A common conception of punishment in Hades. See 
Vergil, Aen. vi. 601. 

97 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

implicitus horres, quisquis immissas faces 

semiustus abigis, Tantali vocem excipe 80 

properantis ad vos : credite experto milii, 

amate poenas. quando continget rnihi 

effugere superos ? 

FVRIA 

Ante perturba domum 
inferque tecum proelia et ferri maluni 
regibus amorern, concute insano ferum 
pectus tumultu. 

TANTALI VMBRA 

Me pati poenas decet, 
non esse poenam. mittor ut dirus vapor 
tellure rupta vel gravera populis luem 
sparsura pestis, ducam in horrendum nefas 
avus nepotes. magne divorum parens 90 

nosterque, quamvis pudeat, ingenti licet 
taxata poena lingua crucietur loquax, 
nee hoc tacebo; moneo, ne sacra 1 manus 
violate caede neve furiali malo 
aspergite aras. stabo et arcebo scelus 
Quid ora terres verbere et tortos ferox 
minaris angues ? quid fameni infixam intimis 
agitas medullis ? flagrat incensura siti 
cor et perustis flamma visceribus micat 
sequor. 2 100 

FVRIA 

Hunc, hunc furorem divide in totam domum ' 
sic, sic ferantur et suum infensi invicem 
sitiant cruorem. sentit introitus tuos 

1 So A : Leo sacras. 3 Leo deletes this word. 
98 



THYESTES 

the dread ranks of furies; whoe'er, half burned, 
shunnest their threatening torches, hear ye the words 
of Tantalus now hasting to you: believe me who 
know, and love your punishments. Oh, when shall 
it fall to me to escape the upper world ? 

THE FURY 

First throw thy house into confusion dire, bring 
strife with thee, bring lust for the sword, an evil 
thing for rulers, and rouse to mad passion the savage 
breast. 

GHOST OF TANTALUS 

'Tis meet for me to suffer punishments, not be a 
punishment. I am sent as some deadly exhalation 
from the riven earth, or as a pestilence, spreading 
grievous plague among the people, that I a grandsire 
may lead my grandsons into fearful crime. O mighty 
sire of gods, my father, too, however to thy shame I 
say it, though to cruel punishment my tattling tongue 
be doomed, I will not hold my peace; I warn ye, de- 
file not your hands with accursed slaughter, nor stain 
your altars with a madman's crime. Here will I stand 
and prevent the evil deed. [To THE FURY.] Why 
with thy scourge dost fright mine eyes, and fiercely 
threaten with thy writhing snakes? Why deep in 
my inmost marrow dost rouse hunger pains? My 
heart is parched with burning thirst, and in my 
scorched vitals the fire is darting I follow thee. 

THE FURY 

This, this very rage of thine distribute throughout 
thy house ! So, e'en as thou, may they be driven on, 
raging to quench their thirst each in the other's 
blood. Thy house feels thy near approach, and has 

99 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

domus et nefando tota contactu horruit. 

actum est abunde ! gradere ad infernos specus 

amnemque notum ; iam tuum raaestae pedem 

terrae gravantur. cernis ut fontes liquor 

introrsus actus linquat, ut ripae vacant 

ventusque raras igneus nubes ferat? 

pallescit omnis arbor ac nudus stetit 110 

fugiente porno ramus, et qua fluctibus 

illinc propinquis Isthmos atque illinc fremit 

vicina gracili dividens terra vada, 

longe remotos litus exaudit sonos. 

iam Lerna retro cessit et Phoronides 

latuere venae nee suas profert sacer 

Alpheos undas et Cithaeronis iuga 

stant parte nulla cana deposita nive 

timentque veterem nobiles Argi sitim. 

en ipse Titan dubitat an iubeat sequi 120 

cogatque habenis ire periturum diem. 

CHORVS 

Argos de superis si quis Acliaicum 
Pisaeasque domos curribus inclitas, 
Isthmi si quis amat regna Corinthii 
et portus geminos et mare dissidens, 
si quis Taygeti conspicuas nives, 
quas cum Sarmaticus tempore frigido 
in summis Boreas composuit iugis, 
aestas veliferis solvit Etesiis, 
quern tangit gelido flumine lucidus 130 

Alpheos, stadio notus Olympico, 
advertat placidum numen et arceat, 
alternae scelerum ne redeant vices 
nee succedat avo deterior nepos 

100 



THYESTES 

shrunk in utter horror from thine accursed touch. 
Enough ! more than enough ! Go thou to the infernal 
caves and well-known stream ; now is the grieving 
earth weary of thy presence. Seest thou how the 
water, driven far within, deserts the springs, how 
river banks are empty, how the fiery wind drives 
away the scattered clouds ? Every tree grows pale, 
and from the bare branches the fruit has fled ; and 
where this side and that the Isthmus is wont to roar 
with neighbouring waves, dividing near seas with 
narrow neck of land, the shore but faintly hears the 
far off sound. Now Lerna has shrunk back, the 
Phoronean stream l has disappeared, the sacred Al- 
pheus no longer bears his waters on, Cithaeron's 
heights have lost their snows and nowhere stand 
hoary now, and the lordly Argos fears its ancient 
drought. 2 Lo ! Titan himself stands doubtful whether 

O 

to bid day follow on, and, plying the reins, compel 
it to come forth to its undoing. 

CHORUS 

If any god loves Achaian Argos and Pisa's homes 
renowned for chariots ; if any loves Corinthian 
Isthmus' realm, its twin harbours, its dissevered 
sea ; if any, the far-seen snows of Mount Taygetus, 
snows which, when in winter-time the Sarmatian 
blasts have laid them on the heights, the summer 
with its sail-filling Etesian breezes melts away ; if 
any is moved by the cool, clear stream of Alpheus, 
famed for its Olympic course let him his kindly 
godhead hither turn, let him forbid the recurrent 
waves of crime to come again, forbid that on his 
grandsire follow a worse grandson, and greater crime 

1 i.e. the river Inachus. 

? i.e. in the time of Phaethon. 

101 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

et maior placeat culpa minoribus. 

tandem lassa feros exuat impetus 

sicci progenies impia Tan tali. 

peccatum satis est ; fas valuit nihil 

aut commune nefas. proditus occidit 

deceptor domini Myrtilus, et fide 140 

vectus qua tulerat nobile reddidit 

mutato pelagus nomine ; notior 

nulla est loniis labula navibus. 

exceptus gladio parvulus impio 

dum currit patrium natus ad osculum, 

immatura focis victima concidit 

divisusque tua est, Tan tale, dextera, 

mensas ut strueres hospitibus dels. 

hos aeterna fames persequitur cibos, 

hos aeterna sitis ; nee dapibus feris 150 

decerni potuit poena decentior. 

Stat lassus vacuo gutture Tantalus ; 
impendet capiti plurima noxio 
Phineis avibus praeda fugacior ; 
hinc illinc gravidis frondibus incubat 
et curvata suis fetibus ac tremens 
alludit patulis arbor hiatibus. 
haec, quamvis avidus nee patiens morae, 
deceptus totiens tangere neglegit 
obliquatque oculos oraque comprimit 160 

inclusisque famem dentibus alligat. 
sed tune divitias omne nemus suas 
demittit propius pomaque desuper 
insultant foliis mitia languidis 
accenduntque famem, quae iubet irritas 

1 A retention of the rhetorical element in this line results 
in an obscurity impossible to avoid in English. The meaning 
is : Let not the descendants (minoribus) do worse sin than 
their ancestor. 

102 



THYESTES 

please lesser men. 1 Wearied at last, may the impious 
race of thirsty Tantalus give o'er its lust for savagery. 
Enough sin has been wrought ; nothing has right 
availed, or general wrong. Himself betrayed, fell 
Myrtilus, betrayer of his lord, and, dragged down 
by the faith which he bad shown, he made a sea 2 
famous by its change of name ; to Ionian ships no 
tale is better known. While the little son 3 ran to 
his father's kiss, welcomed by sinful sword, he fell, 
an untimely victim at the hearth, and by thy right 
hand was carved, O Tantalus, that thou mightest 
spread a banquet for the gods, thy guests. Such 
food eternal hunger, such eternal thirst pursues ; 
nor for such bestial viands could have been meted 
penalty more fit. 

152 Weary, with empty throat, stands Tantalus ; 
above his guilty head hangs food in plenty, than 
Phineus' 4 birds more elusive; on either side, with 
laden boughs, a tree leans over him and, bending 
and trembling 'neath its weight of fruit, makes sport 
with his wide-straining jaws. The prize, though he 
is eager and impatient of delay, deceived so oft, he 
tries no more to touch, turns away his eyes, shuts 
tight his lips, and behind clenched teeth he bars his 
hunger. But then the whole grove lets its riches 
down nearer still, and the mellow fruits above his 
head mock him with drooping boughs and whet 
again the hunger, which bids him ply his hands in 

a The Myrtoan sea, that portion of the Aegean south of 
Kuboea. The name is here fancifully derived from Myrtilus. 
For the whole incident see Index- 

8 Pelops. 4 The Harpies. 

103 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

exercere manus. has ubi protulit 

et falli libuit, totus in arduum 

autunmus rapitur silvaque mobilis. 

instat deinde sitis non levior fame ; 

qua cum percaluit sanguis et igneis 170 

exarsit facibus, stat miser obvios 

fluctus ore petens, quos profugus latex 

avertit sterili deficiens vado 

conantemque sequi deserit ; hie bibit 

altum de rapido gurgite pulverem. 

ATREVS 

Ignave, iners, enervis et (quod maximum 
probrum tyranno rebus in summis reor) 
inulte, post tot scelera, post f'ratris dolos 
fasque omne ruptum questibus vanis agis 
iratus Atreus ? fremere iam totus tuis 180 

debebat armis orbis et geminum mare 
utrimque classes agere, iam flammis agros 
lucere et urbes decuit ac strictum undique 
micare ferrum. tota sub nostro sonet 
Argolica tellus equite ; non silvae tegant 
hostem nee altis montium structae iugis 
arces ; relictis bellicum totus canat 
populus Mycenis, quisquis invisum caput 
tegit ac tuetur, clade funesta occidat. 
haec ipsa pollens incliti Pelopis domus 190 

ruat vel in me, dummodo in fratrem ruat. 
age, anime, fac quod nulla posteritas probet, 
sed nulla tacent. aliquod audendum est nefas 
atrox, cruentum, tale quod frater meus 
suum esse mallet, scelera non ulcisceris, 
nisi vincis. et quid esse tarn saevum potest 

1 Not because he failed, but because he almost succeeded 
104 



THYESTES 

vain. When lie has stretched these forth and gladly l 
has been baffled, the whole ripe harvest of the bending 
woods is snatched far out of reach. Then comes a 
raging thirst, harder to bear than hunger; when by 
this his blood has grown hot and glowed as with 
fiery torches, the poor wretch stands catching at 
waves that seem to approach his lips ; but these the 
elusive water turns aside, failing in meagre shallows, 
and leaves him utterly, striving to pursue ; then deep 
from the whirling stream he drinks but dust. 

ATREUS [in soliloquy] 

O undaring, unskilled, unnerved, and (what in 
high matters I deem a king's worst reproach) yet 
unavenged, after so many crimes, after a brother's 
treacheries, and all right broken down, in idle com- 
plaints dost busy thyself a mere wrathful Atreus? 
By now should the whole world be resounding with 
thy arms, on either side thy fleets be harrying both 
seas ; by now should fields and cities be aglow with 
flames and the drawn sword be gleaming everywhere. 
Let the whole land of Argolis resound with our 
horses' tread ; let no forests shelter my enemy, nor 
citadels, built on high mountain tops ; let the whole 
nation leave Mycenae and sound the trump of war ; 
and whoso hides and protects that hateful head, let 
him die a grievous death. This mighty palace itself, 
illustrious Pelops' house, may it e'en fall on me, if 
only on my brother, too, it fall. Up ! my soul, do 
what no coming age shall approve, but none forget. 
I must dare some crime, atrocious, bloody, such as 
my brother would more wish were his. Crimes thou 
dost not avenge, save as thou dost surpass them. 
And what crime can be so dire as to overtop his sin ? 

105 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

quod superet ilium ? numquid abiectus iacet ? 

numquid secundis patitur in rebus modum, 

fessis quietem ? novi ego ingenium viri 

indocile ; flecti non potest frangi potest. 200 

proinde antequam se firmat aut vires parat, 

petatur ultro, ne quiescentem petat. 

aut perdet aut peribit ; in medio est scelus 

positum occupanti. 

8ATELLES 

Fama te populi nihil 
adversa terret ? 

ATREVS 

Maximum hoc regni bonum est, 
quod facta domini cogitur populus sui 
tarn ferre quam laudare. 

SATELLES 

Quos cogit metus 

laudare, eosdem reddit inimicos metus. 
at qui favoris gloriam veri petit, 
animo magis quam voce laudari volet. 210 

ATREVS 

Laus vera et humili saepe contingit viro, 
non nisi potenti falsa, quod nolunt velint. 

SATELLES 

Rex velit honesta : nemo non eadem volet. 

ATREVS 

Vbicumque tantum honesta dominant! licent, 
precario regnatur. 

106 



THYESTES 

Does he lie downcast? Does he in prosperity endure 
control, rest in defeat? I know the untamable spirit 
of the man ; bent it cannot be but it can be broken. 
Therefore, ere he strengthen himself or marshal his 
powers, we must begin the attack, lest, while we 
wait, the attack be made on us. Slay or be slain will 
he ; between us lies the crime for him who first 
shall do it. 

ATTENDANT 

Does public disapproval deter thee not? 

ATREUS 

The greatest advantage this of royal power, that 
their master's deeds the people are compelled as 
well to bear as praise. 

ATTENDANT 

Whom fear compels to praise, them, too, fear makes 
into foes; but he who seeks the glory of true favour, 
will wish heart rather than voice to sing his praise. 

ATREUS 

True praise even to the lowly often comes ; false, 
only to the strong. What men choose not, let them 
choose. 

ATTENDANT 

Let a king choose the right ; then none will not 
choose the same. 

ATREUS 

Where only right to a monarch is allowed, sove- 
reignty is held on sufferance. 

107 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

SATELLES 

Vbi non est pudor 
nee cura iuris sanctitas pietas fides, 
instabile regnum est. 

AT REVS 

Sanctitas pietas fides 
privata bona sunt ; qua iuvat reges eant. 

SATELLES 

Nefas nocere vel malo fratri puta. 

ATREVS 

Fas est in illo quidquid in fratre est nefas. 220 
quid enim reliquit crimine intactum aut ubi 
sceleri pepercit ? coniugeni stupro abstulit 
regnumque furto ; specimen antiquum imperi 
fraude est adeptus, fraude turbavit domum. 
est Pelopis altis nobile in stabulis pecus, 
arcanus aries, ductor opulenti gregis. 
huius per omne corpus effuso coma 
dependet auro, cuius e tergo l novi 
aurata reges sceptra Tantalici gerunt ; 
possessor huius regnat, hunc tantae domus 230 

fortuna sequitur. tuta seposita sacer 
in parte carpit prata, quae claudit lapis 
fatale saxeo pascuum muro tegens. 
hunc facinus ingens ausus assumpta in scelus 
consorte iiostri perfidus thalami avehit. 
hinc omne cladis mutuae fluxit malum ; 
per regna trepidus exul erravi mea, 

1 Leo conjectures tracto : Wilamoivitz, texto. 

1 A ram with golden fleece, whose possession, according to 
an oracle, guaranteed possession of the throne. See Index 
s.v. Thyestes. 

108 



THYESTES 

ATTENDANT 

Where is no shame, no care for right, no honour, 
virtue, faith, sovereignty is insecure. 

ATREUS 

Honour, virtue, faith are the goods of common 
men ; let kings go where they please. 

ATTENDANT 

O count it wrong to harm even a wicked brother. 

ATREUS 

Whate'er is wrong to do unto a brother is right to 
do to him. For what has he left untouched by 
crime, or where has he failed to sin? My wife has 
he debauched, my kingdom stolen ; the ancient 
token l of our dynasty by fraud he gained, by fraud 
o'erturned our house. There is within Pelops' lofty 
folds a lordly flock, and a wondrous ram, the rich 
flock's leader. O'er all his body a fleece of spun 
gold hangs, and from his back 2 the new-crowned 
kings of the house of Tantalus have their sceptres 
wreathed with gold. His owner rules; him does the 
fortune of the whole house follow. Hallowed and 
apart he grazes in safe meadows fenced with stone, 
that guards the fated pasture with its rocky wall. Him 
did the perfidious one, 3 daring a monstrous crime, 
steal away, with the partner of my bed helping the 
sinful deed. From this source has flowed the whole 
evil stream of mutual destruction ; throughout my 
kingdom have I wandered, a trembling exile ; no 

2 i.e. from the golden fleece upon it. 

3 Thyestes. 

109 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

pars nulla generis tuta ab insidiis vacat, 
corrupta coniunx, iniperi quassa est fides, 
domus aegra, dubius sanguis est certi nihil 240 

nisi frater hostis. quid stupes ? tandem incipe 
animosque sume ; Tantalum et Pelopem aspice ; 
ad haec manus exempla poscuntur meae. 
Profare, dirum qua caput mactem via. 



SATELLES 

Ferro peremptus spiritum inimicum expuat. 

ATREVS 

De fine poenae loqueris ; ego poenam volo. 
perimat tyrannus lenis ; in regno meo 
mors impetratur. 

SATELLES 

Nulla te pietas movet ? 

ATREVS 

Excede, Pietas, si modo in nostra domo 
umquam fuisti. dira Furiarum cohors 250 

discorsque Erinys veniat et geminas faces 
Megaera quatiens ; non satis magno meum 
ardet furore pectus ; impleri iuvat 
maiore monstro. 

SATELLES 

Quid novi rabidus struis ? 

ATREVS 

Nil quod doloris capiat assueti m6dus ; 
nullum relinquam facinus et nullum est satis. 

1 i.e. by which tho two brothers were to reign alternately. 
110 



THYESTES 

part of my family is safe and free from snares ; my 
wife seduced, our pledge 1 of empire broken, my 
house impaired, my offspring dubious no one thing 
certain save my brother's enmity. Why standest in- 
active ? At last begin, put on thy courage ; Tantalus 
and Pelops look on them ; to work like theirs my 
hands are summoned. 

244 Tell thou, by what means I may bring ruin on 
his wicked head. 

ATTENDANT 

Slain by the sword, let him spew forth his hateful 
soul. 

ATREUS 

Thou speakest of punishment's completion ; I 
punishment itself desire. Let the mild tyrant slay ; 
in my dominion death is a boon to pray for. 

ATTENDANT 

Does piety move thee not ? 

ATREUS 

Be gone, O Piety, if ever in our house thou hadst 
a place. Let the dread band of Furies come, the 
fiend Discord, and Megaera, brandishing her torches 
twain ; not great enough the frenzy with which my 
bosom burns ; with some greater horror would I be 
filled. 

ATTENDANT 

What strange design does thy mad soul intend ? 

ATREUS 

Naught that the measure of accustomed rage can 
hold ; no crime will I leave undone, and no crime is 
enough. 

Ill 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

SATELLES 

Ferrum ? 

AT REVS 

Parum est. 

SATELLES 

Quid ignis ? 

ATREVS 

Etiamnunc parum est 

SATELLES 

Quonam ergo telo tantus utetur dolor ? 

ATREVS 

Ipso Thyeste. 

SATELLES 

Mains hoc ira est malum. 

ATREVS 

Fateor. tumultus pectora attonitus quatit 260 
penitusque volvit ; rapior et quo nescio, 
sed rapior. imo mugit e fundo solum, 
tonat dies serenus ac totis domus 
ut fracta tectis crepuit et moti lares 
vertere vultum fiat hoc, fiat nefas 
quod, di, timetis. 

SATELLES 

Facere quid tandem paras ? 

ATREVS 

Nescio quid animo maius et solito amplius 
supraque fines moris humani tumet 
instatque pigris manibus haud quid sit scio, 
112 



THYESTES 

ATTENDANT 

The sword ? 

ATREUS 



'Tis not enough. 

ATTENDANT 

Fire, then ? 

ATREUS 

Still not enough. 

ATTENDANT 

What weapon, pray, will thy great anguish use ? 

ATREUS 
Thyestes* self. 

ATTENDANT 

This plague is worse than passion. 

ATREUS 

I do confess it. A frantic tumult shakes and 
heaves deep my heart. I am hurried I know 
not whither, but I am hurried on. The ground 
rumbles from its lowest depths, the clear sky thun- 
ders, the whole house crashes as though 'twere rent 
asunder, and the trembling Lares turn away their 
faces let it be done, let a deed of guilt be done 
whereat, O gods, ye are affrighted. 

ATTENDANT 

What, pray, wouldst do ? 

ATREUS 

Some greater thing, larger than the common and 
beyond the bounds of human use is swelling in my 
soul, and it urges on my sluggish hands I know not 

113 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

sed grande quiddam est. ita sit. hoc, anime, 
occupa. 270 

dignum est Thyeste facinus et dignum Atreo ; 
uterque faciat. vidit infandas domus 
Odrysia mensas fateor, immane est scelus, 
sed occupatum ; maius hoc aliquid dolor 
inveniat. animum Daulis inspira parens 
sororque ; causa est similis ; assiste et manum 
impelle nostram. liberos avidus pater 
gaudensque laceret et suos artus edat. 
bene est, abunde est. hie placet poenae modus. 

Tantisper 1 ubinam est? tarn diu cur innocens 280 
versatur Atreus ? tota iam ante oculos meos 
imago caedis errat, ingesta orbitas 
in ora patris anime, quid rursus times 
et ante rem subsidis ? audendum est, age ! 
quod est in isto scelere praecipuum nefas, 
hoc ipse faciet. 



SATELLE8 

Sed quibus captus dolis 
nostros dabit perductus in laqueos pedem? 
inimica credit cuncta. 

ATREVS 

Non poterat capi, 

nisi capere vellet. regna nunc sperat mea ; 
hac spe minanti fulmen occurret Jovi, 290 

hac spe subibit gurgitis tumidi minas 
dubiumque Libycae Syrtis intrabit fretum, 
hac spe, quod esse maximum retur malum, 
fratrem videbit. 

1 All editors punctuate modus | taritisper. ubinam est? 
114 



THYESTES 

what it is, but 'tis some mighty thing. So let it be. 
Haste, thou, my soul, and do it. Tis a deed worthy 
of Thyestes, and of Atreus worthy ; let each perform 
it. The Odrysian l house once saw a feast unspeak- 
able 'tis a monstrous crime, I grant, but it has 
been done before ; let my smart find something 
worse than this. Inspire my soul, O Daulian 2 
mother, aye and sister, 3 too ; my case is like to yours ; 
help me and urge on my hand. Let the father with 
joyous greed rend his sons, and his own flesh devour. 
'Tis well, more than enough. This way of punish- 
ment is pleasing. 

280 Meanwhile, where is he ? Why does Atreus so 
long live harmless ? Already before mine eyes flits 
the whole picture of the slaughter ; his lost children 
heaped up before their father's face O soul, why 
dost shrink back in fear and halt before the deed ? 
Come ! thou must dare it ! What is the crowning 
outrage in this crime he himself shall do. 

ATTENDANT 

But with what wiles caught will he be led to set 
foot within our snares? He counts us all enemies. 



ATREUS 

He could not be caught were he not bent on 
catching. Even now he hopes to gain my kingdom ; 
in this hope he will face Jove as he brandishes his 
thunder-bolt, in this hope will brave the whirlpool's 
rage and enter the treacherous waters of the Libyan 
sands; in this hope (what he deems the greatest 
curse of all), he will see his brother. 



1 i.e. Thracian. See Index. * Procne. 8 Philomela. 

115 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 



SATELLES 

Quis fidem pacis dabit? 
cui tanta credet ? 

ATREVS 

Credula est spes improba. 
natis tamen mandata quae patruo ferant 
dabimus : relictis exul hospitiis vagus 
regno ut miserias mutet atque Argos regat 
ex parte dominus. si nimis durus preces 
spernet Tliyestes, liberos eius rudes 300 

malisque fessos gravibus et faciles capi 
prece commovebunt. hinc vetus regni furor, 
illinc egestas tristis ac durus labor 
quaravis rigentem tot mails subigent virum. 

SATELLES 

lam tempus illi fecit aerumnas leves. 

ATREVS 

Erras ; malorum sensus accrescit die. 
leve est miserias ferre, perferre est grave. 

SATELLES 

Alios ministros consili tristis lege. 

ATREVS 

Peiora iuvenes facile praecepta audiunt. 

SATELLES 

In patre facient quidquid in patruo doces ; .310 
saepe in magistrum scelera redierunt sua. 

1 i.e. other than Atreus' own sons. 

116 



THYESTES 

ATTENDANT 

Who will give him confidence in peace? Whose 
word will he so greatly trust ? 

ATREUS 

Base hope is credulous. Still to my sons will I 
give a message to carry to their uncle : let the exiled 
wanderer quit strangers' homes, for a throne exchange 
his wretched state and rule at Argos, a partner of 
my sway. If too stubbornly Thyestes spurns my 
prayer, his sons, guileless and spent with hard mis- 
fortunes and easy to be entreated, will be moved. 
On this side, his old mad thirst for power, on that, 
grim want and unfeeling toil by their many woes will 
force the man, however stiff, to yield. 

ATTENDANT 

By now time has made his troubles light. 

ATREUS 

Not so ; a sense of wrongs increases day by day. 
'Tis easy to bear misfortune ; to keep on bearing it a 
heavy task. 

ATTENDANT 

Choose other l agents of thy grim design. 

ATREUS 

To the worse schooling youth lends ready ear. 

ATTENDANT 

Toward their father they will act as toward their 
uncle thou instructest them ; often upon the teacher 
have his bad teachings turned. 

11? 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

AT REVS 

Vt nemo doceat fraudis et sceleris vias, 
regnum docebit. ne mail fiant times ? 
nascuntur. istud quod vocas saevum asperum 
agique dure credis et nimium impie, 
fortasse et illic agitur. 

SATELLES 

Hanc fraudem scient 
nati parari ? 

AT REVS 

Tacita tarn rudibus fides 
non est in annis ; detegent forsan dolos ; 
tacere multis discitur vitae malis. 

SATELLES 

Ipsosque per quos fallere alium cogitas 820 

falles ? 

ATREVS 

Vt ipsi crimine et culpa vacent. 
quid enim necesse est liberos sceleri meos 
inserere? per nos odia se nostra explicent. 
male agis, recedis, anime : si parcis tuis, 
parces et illis. consili Agamemnon mei 
sciens minister fiat et patri sciens 
Menelaus assit. prolis incertae fides 
ex hoc petatur scelere : si bella abnuunt 
et gerere nolunt odia, si patruum vocant, 
pater est. eatur. multa sed trepidus solet 830 

detegere vultus, magna nolentem quoque 
consilia produnt : nesciant quantae rei 
fiant ministri. nostra tu coepta occules. 

1 By Thyestes against Atreus. 
118 



THYESTES 

ATREUS 

Though none should teach them the ways of 
treachery and crime, the throne will teach them. 
Lest they become evil, fearest thou ? They were 
born evil. What thou callest savage, cruel, thinkest 
is done ruthlessly, with no regard for heaven's law, 
perchance even there l is being done. 

ATTENDANT 

Shall thy sons know that this snare is being laid ? 

ATREUS 

Silent discretion is not found in years so in- 
experienced ; perchance they will disclose the plot ; 
the art of silence is taught by life's many ills. 

ATTENDANT 

Even those by whom thou plannest to deceive 
another, wilt thou deceive ? 

ATREUS 

That they themselves may be free even from 
blame of crime. What need to entangle my sons in 
guilt ? By my own self let my hatred be wrought 
out. Thou doest ill, thou shrinkest back, my soul. 
Let Agamemnon be the witting agent of my plan, 
and Menelaus wittingly assist his father. By this deed 
let their uncertain birth be put to proof: if they 
refuse the combat, if they will not wage the war of 
hate, if they plead he is their uncle, he is their sire. 
Let them set forth. But a troubled countenance oft 
discloses much ; great plans betray their bearer even 
against his will ; let them not know of how great a 
matter they are the ministers. And do thou conceal 
my plans. 

119 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SEN 7 ECA 

SATELLES 

Haud sum monendus ; ista nostro in pectore 
fides timorque, sed magis claudet fides. 

CHORVS 

Tandem regia nobilis, 
antiqui genus Inachi, 
fratrum composuit minas. 1 

Quis vos exagitat furor, 
alternis dare sanguinem 340 

et sceptrum scelere aggredi ? 
nescitis, cupidi arcium, 
regnum quo iaceat loco, 
regem non faciunt opes, 
non vestis Tyriae color, 
non frontis nota regiae, 
non auro nitidae fores 2 ; 
rex est qui posuit metus 
et diri mala pectoris, 

quern non ambitio inpotens 350 

et numquam stabilis favor 
vulgi praecipitis movet, 
non quidquid fodit Occidens 
aut unda Tagus aurea 
claro devehit alveo, 
non quidquid Libycis tent 
fervens area messibus, 
quern non concutiet cadens 
obliqui via fulminis, 

non Eurus rapiens mare S60 

aut saevo rabidus freto 
ventosi tumor Hadriae, 
quern non lancea militis, 

1 Richter deletes 336-338. * trabes A, 

120 



THYESTES 

ATTENDANT 

No need to admonish me ; both fear and loyalty 
shall shut them in my heart, but rather loyalty. 

CHORUS 

At last our noble house, the race of ancient Inachus, 
hath allayed the strife of brothers. 

339 VVhat madness pricks you on to shed by turns 
each others' blood, and by crime to gain the throne ? 
Ye know not, for high place greedy, wherein true 
kingship lies. A king neither riches make, nor robes 
of Tyrian hue, nor crown upon the royal brow, nor 
doors with gold bright-gleaming ; a king is he who 
has laid fear aside and the base longings of an evil 
heart ; whom ambition unrestrained and the fickle 
favour of the reckless mob move not, neither all the 
mined treasures of the West nor the golden sands 
which Tagus sweeps along in his shining bed, nor all 
the grain trod out on burning Libya's threshing- 
floors ; whom no hurtling path of the slanting 
thunderbolt will shake, nor Eurus, harrying the sea, 
nor wind-swept Adriatic's swell, raging with cruel 
wave ; whom no warrior's lance nor bare steel ever 

121 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

non strictus domuit chalybs, 
qui tuto positus loco 
infra se videt omnia 
occurritque suo libens 
fato nee queritur mori. 

Reges conveniant licet 
qui sparsos agitant Dahas, S70 

qui rubri vada litoris 
et gemmis mare lucidis 
late sanguineum tenent, 
aut qui Caspia fortibus 
recludunt iuga Sarmatis, 
certet Danuvii vadum 
audet qui pedes ingredi 
et (quocumque loco iacent) 
Seres vellere nobiles 
mens regnum bona possidet. 380 

nil ullis opus est equis, 
nil armis et inertibus 
telis quae procul ingerit 
Parthus, cum simulat fugas, 
admotis nihil est opus 
urbes sternere machinis, 
longe saxa rotantibus. 
rex est qui metuit nihil, 
rex est qui cupiet nihil. 1 
hoc regnum sibi quisque dat. 390 

Stet quicumque volet potens 
aulae culmine lubrico ; 
me dulcis saturet quies ; 
obscuro positus loco 
leni perfruar otio, 
nullis nota Quiritibus 
aetas per taciturn fluat. 

1 Leo deletes lines 388, 389. 
122 



THYESTES 

mastered ; who, in safety 'stablished, sees all things 
beneath his feet, goes gladly to meet his fate nor 
grieves to die. 

369 Though kings should gather themselves to- 
gether, both they who vex the scattered Scythians 
and they who dwell upon the Red Sea's marge, who 
hold wide sway o'er the blood-red main with its 
gleaming pearls, they who leave unguarded l the 
Caspian heights to the bold Sarmatians ; though he 
strive against him, who dares on foot to tread the 
Danube's waves 2 and (wheresoe'er they dwell,) the 
Serians 3 for fleeces famous 'tis the upright mind 
that holds true sovereignty. He has no need of 
horses, none of arms and the coward weapons which 
the Parthian hurls from far when he feigns flight, 
no need of engines hurling rocks, stationed to batter 
cities to the ground. A king is he who has no fear ; 
a king is he who shall naught desire. Such kingdom 
on himself each man bestows. 

391 Let him stand who will, in pride of power, on 
empire's slippery height ; let me be filled with sweet 
repose ; in humble station fixed, let me enjoy un- 
troubled ease, and, to my fellow citizens 4 unknown, 
let my life's stream flow in silence. So when my 

1 Because they do not fear these enemies. 

2 i.e. the frozen surface. 

3 The poet here conceives of the Serians as near by Scythia. 

4 Quirites must be taken in a general sense. Specifically, 
it would be impossible, since it applies only to Roman citi- 
zens, who at this time had not come into existence. 

123 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

sic cum transierint mei 

nullo cum strepitu dies, 

plebeius moriar senex. 400 

illi mors gravis incubat 

qui, notus nimis omnibus, 

ignotus moritur sibi. 

THYESTES 

Optata patriae tecta et Argolicas opes 
miserisque summum ac maximum exulibus bonum, 
tractum soli natalis et patrios deos 
(si sunt tamen di) cerno, Cyclopum sacras 
turres, labore maius humano decus, 
celebrata iuveni stadia, per quae nobilis 
palmam paterno non semel curru tuli 4 1 

occurret Argos, populus occurret frequens 
sed nempe et Atreus. repete silvestres fugas 
saltusque densos potius et mixtam feris 
similemque vitam ; clarus hie regni nitoi 
fulgore non est quod oculos falso auferat ; 
cum quod datur spectabis, et dantem aspice. 
modo inter ilia, quae putant cuncti aspera, 
fortis fui laetusque ; nunc contra in metus 
revolvor ; animus haeret ac retro cupit 
corpus referre, moveo nolentem gradum. 420 

TANTALVS 

Pigro (quid hoc est ?) genitor incessu stupet 
vultumque versat seque in incerto tenet. 



124 



THYESTES 

days have passed noiselessly away, lowly may I die 
and full of years. On him does deatli lie heavily, 
who, but too well known to all, dies to himself 
unknown. 

[Enter THYESTES, returning from banishment, accompanied 

by his three sons.] 



THYESTES 

At last I see the welcome dwellings of my father- 
land, the wealth of Argolis, and, the greatest and 
best of sights to wretched exiles, a stretch of native 
soil and my ancestral gods (if after all gods there 
are), the sacred towers reared by the Cyclopes, in 
beauty far excelling human effort, the race-course 
thronged with youth, where more than once, lifted 
to fame, have I in my father's chariot won the palm. 
Argos will come to meet me, the thronging populace 
will come but surely Atreus too ! Rather seek 
again thy retreats in the forest depths, the impene- 
trable glades, and life shared with beasts and like to 
theirs ; this gleaming splendour of the throne is 
naught that should blind my eyes with its false tinsel 
show ; when thou lookest on the gift, scan well the 
giver, too. Of late midst such fortune as all count 
hard, 1 was brave and joyous ; but now I am returned 
to fears ; my courage falters and, eager to go back, I 
move unwilling feet along. 

TANTALUS [aside] 

My father (what can it mean ?) with faltering pace 
goes as if dazed, keeps turning his face away, and 
holds uncertain course. 

125 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

THYESTES 

Quid, anime, pendes quidve consilium diu 
tarn facile torques ? rebus incertissimis, 
fratri atque regno, credis ac metuis mala 
iam victa, iam mansueta et aerumnas fugis 
bene collocatas ? esse iam miserum iuvat. 
reflecte gressum, dum licet, teque eripe. 

TANTALVS 

Quae causa cogit, genitor, a patria gradum 
referre visa ? cur bonis tantis sinum 430 

subducis ? ira frater abiecta redit 
partemque regni reddit et lacerae domus 
componit artus teque restituit tibi. 

THYESTES 

Causam timoris ipse quam ignore exigis. 
nihil timendum video, sed timeo tamen. 
placet ire, pigris membra sed genibus labant 
alioque quam quo nitor abductus feror. 
sic concitatam remige et velo ratem 
aestus resistens remigi et velo refert. 

TANTALVS 

Evince quidquid obstat et mentem impedit 440 
reducemque quanta praemia expectent vide, 
pater, potes regnare. 

THYESTES 

Cum possim mori. 

1 i.e. made the best of by learning how to bear them. 
a Blessings are being poured into his bosom and he will 
not receive them. 

126 



THYESTES 

THYESTES [m soliloquy] 

Why O soul, dost hesitate, or why dost so long 
turn o'er and o'er a plan so simple ? Dost thou trust 
to things most unsure, to a brother and to kingship? 
Dost fear hardships already mastered, already easier 
to bear, and dost flee from distresses well employed P 1 
'Tis sweet now to be wretched. Turn back, while 
still thou mayest, and save thyself. 

TANTALUS 

What cause compels thee, father, to turn thee 
back from sight of thy native land ? Why from so 
great blessings dost withhold thy bosom ? 2 Thy 
brother returns to thee with wrath given o'er, gives 
thee back half the realm, unites the members of thy 
sundered house, and to thyself restores thee. 

THYESTES 

My cause of fear, which I myself know not, thou 
demandest of me. Naught to be feared I see, but 
still I fear. Fain would I go, but my limbs totter 
with faltering knees, and other-whither than I strive 
to go am I borne away in thrall. Just so a ship, 
urged on by oar and sail, the tide, resisting both oar 
and sail, bears back. 

TANTALUS 

O'ercome thou whate'er opposes and thwarts thy 
will, and see how great rewards await thee on thy 
return. Father, thou canst be king. 

THYESTES 

Yea, since 1 can die. 3 

3 The power to die is more precious than the power of 
kings ; since, therefore, he can die, Thyestes has indeed regal 
power. 

127 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

TANTALVS 

Summa est potestas 

THYESTES 

Nulla, si cupias nihil. 

TANTALVS 

Natis relinques. 

THYESTES 

Non capit regnum duos. 

TANTALVS 

Miser esse mavult esse qui felix potest ? 

THYESTES 

Mihi crede, falsis magna nominibus placent, 
frustra timentur dura, dum excelsus steti, 
numquam pavere destiti atque ipsum mei 
ferrum timere lateris. o quantum bonum est 
obstare nulli, capere securas dapes 450 

humi iacentem ! scelera non intrant casas, 
tutusque mensa capitur angusta cibus ; 
venenum in auro bibitur. expertus loquor : 
malam bonae praeferre fortunam licet. 
non vertice alti montis impositam domum 
et eminentem civitas humilis tremit 
nee fulget altis splendidum tectis ebur 
somnosque non defendit excubitor meos ; 
non classibus piscamur et retro mare 
iacta fugamus mole nee ventrem improbum 460 

alimus tributo gentium, nullus mihi 



128 



THYESTES 

TANTALUS 

The height of power is 

THYESTES 

Naught, if nothing thou desirest. 

TANTALUS 

To thy sons wilt thou bequeath it. 

THYESTES 

The throne admits not two. 

TANTALUS 

Would he wish wretchedness who can be blest? 

THYESTES 

False, believe me, are the titles that give greatness 
charm ; idle our fears of hardship. While I stood 
high in power, never did I cease to dread, yea, to 
fear the very sword upon my thigh. Oh, how good 
it is to stand in no man's road, care-free to eat one's 
bread, on the ground reclining ! Crime enters not 
lowly homes, and in safety is food taken at a slender 
board ; poison is drunk from cups of gold. I speak 
that I do know : evil fortune is to be preferred to 
good. 1 The lowly citizen fears no house of mine set 
high and threatening on a mountain top ; my tower- 
ing roofs flash not with gleaming ivory, no guard 
watches o'er my slumbers ; with no fleet of boats I 
fish, with no piled break-water do I drive back the 
sea ; I gorge not my vile belly at the world's expense; 
for me no fields are harvested beyond the Getae and 

1 Having tried both, he comes to this conclusion. 

129 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

ultra Getas metalur et Parthos ager ; 

non tare colimur nee meae excluso love 

ornantur arae ; nulla culminibus meis 

imposita nutat silva nee fumant manu 

succensa multa stagna nee somno dies 

Baechoque nox iungenda pervigili datur : 

sed non timemur, tuta sine telo est domus 

rebusque parvis magna praestatur quies. 

immane regnum est posse sine regno pati. 470 

TANTALVS 

Nee abnuendum, si dat imperium deus, 
nee appetendum est ; frater lit regnes rogat. 

THYESTES 

Rogat? timendtim est. errat hie aliquis dolus. 

TANTALVS 

Redire pietas unde submota est solet 
reparatque vires iustus amissas amor. 

THYESTES 

Amat Thyesten frater? aetherias prius 
perfundet Arctos pontus et Siculi rapax 
consistet aestus unda et lonio seges 
matura pelago surget et lucem dabit 
nox atra terris, ante cum flammis aquae, 480 

cum morte vita, cum mari ventus fidem 
foedusque iungent. 

TANTALVS 

Quam tamen fraudem times ? 

THYESTES 

Omnem ; timori quern meo statuam modum ? 
tantum potest quantum odit. 

130 



THYESTES 

the Parthians ; no incense burns for me, nor are my 
shrines adorned in neglect of Jove ; no planted 
grove waves on my battlements, nor does many a 
pool heated by art steam for me ; my days are not 
given to sleep nor are my nights linked with wakeful 
revelry : but I am not feared, safe without weapons 
is my house and to my small estate great peace is 
granted. Tis a boundless kingdom, the power 
without kingdoms to be content. 

TANTALUS 

Neither is empire to be refused if a god bestows it, 
nor needst thou seek it ; thy brother invites thee to 
be king. 

THYESTES 

Invites? Then must I fear. Some trick strays 
hereabouts. 

TANTALUS 

Brotherly regard ofttimes returns unto the heart 
whence it was driven, and true love regains the 
vigour it has lost. 

THYESTES 

His brother love Thyestes ? Sooner shall ocean 
bathe the heavenly Bears, and the devouring waves 
of the Sicilian tides stand still ; sooner shall ripening 
grain spring from the Ionian sea, and dark night 
illume the world ; sooner shall fire with water, life 
with death commingle, and winds join faith and 
treaty with the sea. 

TANTALUS 

And yet what treachery dost thou fear ? 

THYESTES 

All treachery ; to my fear what limit shall I set ? 
His power is boundless as his hate. 

131 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

TANTALVS 

In te quid potest? 

THYESTES 

Pro me nihil iam metuo ; vos facitis mihi 
Atrea timendum. 

TANTALVS 

Decipi cautus times? 

THYESTES 

Serum est cavendi tempus in mediis malis ; 
eatur. unum genitor hoc testor tamen : 
ego vos sequor, non duco. 

TANTALVS 

Respiciet deus 
bene cogitata. perge non dubio gradu. 490 



ATREVS 

Plagis tenetur clausa dispositis fera ; 
et ipsum et una generis invisi indolem 
iunctam parenti cerno. iam tuto in loco 
versantur odia. venit in nostras manus 
tandem Thyestes, venit, et totus quidem 
vix tempero animo, vix dolor frenos capit. 
sic, cum feras vestigat et longo sagax 
loro tenetur Vmber ac presso vias 
scrutatur ore, dum procul lento suem 
odore sentit, paret et tacito locum 500 

132 



THYESTES 

TANTALUS 

What power has he against thee ? 

THYESTES 

For myself I have now no fear ; 'tis you, my sons, 
who make Atreus cause of dread to me. 

TANTALUS 

Dost fear to be entrapped if on thy guard ? 

THYESTES 

'Tis too late to guard when in the midst of 
dangers; but let us on. Yet this one thing your 
father doth declare : I follow you, not lead. 

TANTALUS 

God will protect us if we heed well our ways. 
With assured step haste thou on. 

[Enter ATREUS. Seeing THYESTES and his sons, he gloats 
over the fact that his brother is at last in his power.'] 

ATREUS [aside] 

The prey is fast caught in the toils I spread ; both 
the sire himself and, together with the sire, the 
offspring of his hated race I see. Now on safe 
footing does my hatred fare. At last has Thyestes 
come into my power ; he has come, and the whole J 
of him ! Scarce can I control my spirit, scarce does 
my rage admit restraint. So when the keen Umbrian 
hound tracks out the prey and, held on a long leash, 
with lowered muzzle snuffs out the trail, while with 
faint scent he perceives the boar afar, obediently and 

1 i.e. sons and all. 

133 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

rostro pererrat ; praeda cum propior fuit, 

cervice tota pugnat et gemitu vocat 

dominum morantem seque retinenti eripit. 

cum sperat ira sapguinem, nescit tegi ; 

tamen tegatur. aspice, ut multo gravis 

squalore vultus obruat maestos coma. 

quam foeda iaceat barba. praestetur fides 

fratrem iuvat videre. complexus mihi 

redde expetitos. quidquid irarum fuit 

transient ; ex hoc sanguis ac pietas die 510 

colantur, animis odia damnata excidant. 

THYESTES 

Diluere possem cuncta, nisi talis fores, 
sed fateor, Atreu, fateor, admisi omnia 
quae credidisti. pessimam causam meam 
hodierna pietas fecit, est prorsus nocens 
quicumque visus tarn bono fratri est nocena 
lacrimis agendinr est ; supplicem primus vides ; 
hae te precantur pedibus intactae manus : 
ponatur omnis ira et ex animo tumor 
erasus abeat. obsides fidei accipe 520 

hos innocentes, frater. 

ATREVS 

A genibus manum 

aufer meosque potius amplexus pete, 
vos quoque, senum praesidia, tot iuvenes, meo 
pendete collo. squalidam vestem exue 
oculisque nostris parce et ornatus cape 
pares meis laetusque fratemi imperi 
134- 



THYESTES 

with silent tongue he scours the field ; but when the 
game is nearer, with his whole strength of neck he 
struggles, loudly protests against his master's loitering, 
and breaks away from his restraint. When rage 
scents blood, it cannot be concealed ; yet let it be 
concealed. See how his thick hair, all unkempt, 
covers his woeful face, how foul his beard hangs 
down. [In bitter irony.] Now let me keep my pro- 
mise. 1 [To THYESTES.] Tis sweet to see my brother 
once again. Give me the embrace that I have 
longed for. Let all our angry feelings pass away ; 
from this day let ties of blood and love be cherished 
and let accursed hatred vanish from our hearts. 

THYESTES 

I might excuse all my deeds wert thou not such as 
this. But I confess, Atreus, I confess that I have 
done all that thou believedst of me. Most foul has 
thy love to-day made my case appear. Sinful indeed 
is he who has been proved sinful toward so good a 
brother. My tears must plead for me ; thou art the 
first to see me suppliant. These hands, which have 
never touched man's feet, beseech thee : put away 
all thy wrath and let swollen anger pass from thy 
heart and be forgot. As pledge of my faith, O brother, 
take these guiltless boys. 

ATREUS 

From my knees remove thy hand and come rather 
into my embrace. And you, too, boys, all of you, 
comforters of age, come cling about my neck. Thy 
foul garments put off, spare my eyes, and put on 
royal trappings equal to my own, and with glad 

1 Which he had made through his sons. See I. 296. 

135 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

capesse partem. maior haec laus est mea, 
fratri paternum reddere incolumi decus ; 
habere regnum casus est, virtus dare. 



THYESTE8 

Di paria, frater, pretia pro tantis tibi 530 

meritis rependant. regiam capitis notam 
squalor recusat noster et sceptrum manus 
infausta refugit. liceat in media mihi 
latere turba. 

ATREVS 

Recipit hoc regnum duos. 

THYESTES 

Meum esse credo quid quid est, frater, tuuui. 

ATREVS 
Quis influentis dona fortunae abnuit ? 

THYESTES 

Expertus est quicumque quam facile effluant. 

ATREVS 
Fratrem potiri gloria ingenti vetas ? 

THYESTES 

Tua iam peracta gloria est, restat mea ; 
respuere certum est regna consilium mihi. 540 

ATREVS 
Meam relinquam, nisi tuam partem accipis. 



136 



THYESTES 

heart share a brother's kingdom. Mine is the greater 
glory, to restore to a brother all unharmed ancestral 
dignity ; wielding of power is the work of chance, 
bestowing of it, virtue's. 

THYESTES 

May the gods, my brother, fitly repay thee for so 
great deserts. The kingly crown my wretched state 
refuses, and the sceptre my ill-omened hand rejects. 
Let it be mine to hide amidst the throng. 

ATREUS 
Our throne has room for two. 

THYESTES 

I count, my brother, all of thine as mine. 1 

ATREUS 
Who puts aside inflowing fortune's gifts ? 

THYESTES 

Whoso has found how easily they ebb. 

ATREUS 

Dost forbid thy brother to gain great glory ? 

THYESTES 

Thy glory is won already ; mine is still to win : to 
refuse the throne is my fixed intent. 

ATREUS 

My glory must I abandon, unless thou accept thy 

share. 

1 But I will not take possession of it. 

137 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

THYESTES 

Accipio ; regni nomen impositi ferara, 
sed iura et arma servient mecum tibi. 

AT REVS 

Imposita capiti vincla venerando gere ; 
ego destinatas victimas superis dabo. 

CHORVS 

Credat hoc quisquam ? ferus ille et acer 
nee potens mentis truculentus Atreus 
fratris aspectu stupefactus haesit. 
nulla vis maior pietate vera est ; 
iurgia externis inimica durant, 550 

quos amor verus tenuit tenebit. 
ira cum magnis agitata causis 
gratiam rupit cecinitque bellum, 
cum leves frenis sonuere turmae, 
fulsit hinc illinc agitatus ensis 
quern movet crebro furibundus ictu 
sanguinem Mavors cupiens recentem 
opprimet ferrum manibusque iunctis 
ducet ad Pacem Pietas negantes. 

Otium tanto subitum e tumultu 5b'0 

quis deus fecit ? modo per Mycenas 
arma civil is crepuere belli ; 
pallidae natos tenuere matres, 
uxor armato timuit marito, 
cum manum invitus sequeretur ensis, 
sordidus pacis vitio quietae ; 
ille labentes renovare muros, 
hie situ quassas stabilire turres, 
ferreis portas cohibere claustris 
ille certabat, pavidusque pinnis 570 

anxiae noctis vigil incubabat 

138 



THYESTES 

THYESTES 

I do accept ; the name of king set on me will I 
wear ; but unto thee shall laws and arms along with 
myself be subject. 

ATREUS [placing the crown upon his brother s head] 

This crown, set on thy reverend head, wear thou ; 
but I the destined victims to the gods will pay. [Exit. 

CHORUS 

Such things are past belief. Atreus, there, the 
fierce and savage, reckless of soul and cruel, at 
sight of his brother stood as one amazed. There is 
no power stronger than true love ; angry strife 'twixt 
strangers doth endure, but whom true love has bound 
'twill bind for ever. When wrath, by great causes 
roused, has burst friendship's bonds and sounded 
alarms of war ; when fleet squadrons with ringing 
bridles come ; when the brandished sword gleams 
now here, now there, which the mad god of war, 
thirsting for fresh-flowing blood, wields with a rain 
of blows, then will Love stay the steel, and lead 
men, even against their will, to the clasped hands of 
Peace. 

560 This sudden lull out of so great uproar what 
god has wrought ? But now throughout Mycenae 
the arms of civil strife resounded ; pale mothers held 
fast their sons, the wife feared for her lord full 
armed, when to his hand came the reluctant sword, 
foul with the rust of peace ; one strove to repair 
tottering walls, one to strengthen towers, crumbling 
with long neglect ; another strove to shut gates tight 
with iron bars, while on the battlements the trembling 
guard kept watch o'er the troubled night for worse 

139 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

peior est bello timor ipse belli. 

iam minae saevi cecidere ferri, 

mm silet murmur grave classicorum, 

iam tacet stridor litui strepentis ; 

alta pax urbi revocata laetae est. 

sic, ubi ex alto tumuere fluctus 

Bruttium Coro feriente pontum, 

Scylla pulsatis resonat cavernis 

ac mare in portu timuere nautae 580 

quod rapax haustum revomit Charybdis, 

et ferus Cyclops metuit parentem 

rupe ferventis residens in Aetnae, 

ne superfusis violetur undis 

ignis aeternis resonans caminis, 

et putat mergi sua posse pauper 

regna Laertes Ithaca tremente 

si suae ventis cecidere vires, 

mitius stagno pelagus recumbit; 

alta, quae navis timuit secare, 590 

hinc et bine fusis speciosa velis 

strata ludenti patuere cumbae, 

et vacat mersos numerare pisces 

hie ubi ingenti modo sub procella 

Cyclades pontum timuere motae. 

Nulla sors longa est ; dolor ac voluptas 
invicem cedunt; brevior voluptas. 
ima permutat levis hora summis. 
ille qui donat diadema fronti, 
quern genu nixae tremuere gentes, 600 

cuius ad nutum posuere bella 
Medus et Phoebi propioris Indus 
et Dahae Parthis equitem minati, 
anxius sceptrum tenet et moventes 
cuncta divinat metuitque casus 
mobiles rerum dubiumque tempus. 

140 



THYESTES 

than war is the very fear of war. Now the sword's 
dire threats have fallen ; now still is the deep 
trumpet-blare ; now silent the shrill clarion's blast ; 
deep peace to a glad city is restored. So, when the 
floods heave up from ocean's depths and Corus l 
lashes the Bruttian waters ; when Scylla roars in 
her disturbed cavern, and mariners in harbour 
tremble at the sea which greedy Charybdis drains 
and vomits forth again ; when the wild Cyclops, 
sitting on burning Aetna's crag, dreads his sire's 2 
rage, lest the o'erwhelming waves put out the fires 
that roar in immemorial furnaces ; and when beg- 
gared Laertes thinks, while Ithaca reels beneath the 
shock, that his kingdom may be submerged then, 
if their strength has failed the winds, the sea sinks 
back more peaceful than a pool ; and the deep waters 
which the ship feared to cleave, now far and wide, 
studded with bellying sails, a beauteous sight, to 
pleasure-boats spread out their waves ; and you may 
now count the fish swimming far below, where but 
lately beneath the mighty hurricane the tossed 
Cyclads trembled at the sea. 

596 No lot endureth long ; pain and pleasure, each 
in turn, give place ; more quickly, pleasure. Lowest 
with highest the fickle hour exchanges. He who 
wears crown on brow, before whom trembling nations 
bend the knee, at whose nod the Medes lay down 
their arms, and the Indians of the nearer sun, 3 and 
the Dahae who hurl their horse upon the Parthians, 
he with anxious hand holds the sceptre, and both 
foresees and fears fickle chance and shifting time that 
change all things. 

1 The North-west wind. 2 Neptune. 

8 The sun was supposed to be nearer to the oriental 
nations. 

141 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Vos quibus rector maris atque terrae 
ius dedit magnum necis atque vitae, 
ponite inflates tumidosque vultus ; 
quidquid a vobis minor expavescit. 610 

maior hoc vobis dominus minatur ; 
omne sub regno graviore regnum est. 
quern dies vidit veniens superbum, 
hunc dies vidit fugiens iacentem. 
nemo confidat nimium secundis, 
nemo desperet meliora lapsis : 
miscet haec illis prohibetque Clotho 
stare fortunam, rotat omne fatum. 
nemo tarn divos habuit faventes, 
crastinum ut posset sibi polliceri : 620 

res deus nostras celeri citatas 
turbine versat. 

NVNTIVS 

Quis me per auras turbo praecipitem vehet 
atraque nube involvet, ut tantum nefas 
eripiat oculis ? o domus Pelopi quoque 
et Tantalo pudenda ! 

CHORVS 
Quid portas novi? 

NVNTIVS 

Quaenam ista regio est ? Argos et Sparte, pios 
sortita fratres, et maris gemini premens 
fauces Corinthos, an feris Hister fugam 
praebens Alanis, an sub aeterna nive 630 

Hyrcana tellus an vagi passim Scythae ? 
quis hie nefandi est conscius monstri locus ? 

1 i.e. Castor and Pollux. See Phoenissae, 128. 
142 



THYESTES 

607 O you, to whom the ruler of sea and land has 
given unbounded right o'er life and death, abate your 
inflated, swelling pride ; all that a lesser subject 
fears from you, 'gainst you a greater lord shall 
threaten ; all power is subject to a weightier power. 
Whom the rising sun hath seen high in pride, him 
the setting sun hath seen laid low. Let none be 
over-confident when fortune smiles ; let none despair 
of better things when fortune fails. Clotho blends 
weal and woe, lets no lot stand, keeps every fate 
a-turning. No one has found the gods so kind that 
he may promise to-morrow to himself. God keeps 
all mortal things in swift whirl turning. 

[Enter MESSENGER breathlessly announcing the horror 
which has just been enacted behind the scenes.] 

MESSENGER 

What whirlwind will headlong bear me through 
the air and in murky cloud enfold me, that it may 
snatch this awful horror from my sight ? O house, 
to Pelops even and to Tantalus a thing of shame ! 

CHORUS 
What news bringst thou ? 

MESSENGER 

What place is this? Is it Argos? Is it Sparta, 
to which fate gave loving brothers ? J Corinth, 
resting on the narrow boundary of two seas ? Or 
the Ister, giving chance of flight to the barbarous 
Alani ? Or the Hyrcanian land 'neath its ever- 
lasting snows ? Or the wide-wandering Scythians ? 
What place is this that knows such hideous crime ? 

143 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

CHORVS 

Effare et istud pande, quodcumque est, malura. 

NVNTIVS 

Si steterit animus, si metu corpus rigens 
remittet artus. haeret in vultu trucis 
imago facti ! ferte me insanae procul, 
illo, procellae, ferte quo fertur dies 
hinc raptus. 

CHORVS 

Animos gravius incertos tenes. 
quid sit quod horres ede et auctorem indica. 
non quaere quis sit, sed uter. effare ocius. 640 

NVNTIVS 

In arce summa Pelopiae pars est domus 
conversa ad austros, cuius extremum latus 
aequale monti crescit atque urbem premit 
et contumacem regibus populum suis 
habet sub ictu ; fulget hie turbae capax 
immane tectum, cuius auratas trabes 
variis columnae nobiles maculis ferunt. 
post ista vulgo nota 3 quae populi colunt, 
in multa dives spatia discedit domus ; 
arcana in imo regio secessu iacet, 650 

alta vetustum valle compescens nemus, 
penetrale regni, nulla qua laetos solet 
praebere ramos arbor aut ferro coli, 
sed taxus et cupressus et nigra ilice 
obscura nutat silva, quam supra eminens 
despectat alte quercus et vincit nemus. 
144 



THYESTES 

CHORUS 

Speak out and tell this evil, whate'er it is. 

MESSENGER 

When my spirit is composed, when numbing fear 
lets go its hold upon my limbs. Oh, but I see it 
still, the picture of that ghastly deed ' Bear me far 
hence, wild winds, oh, thither bear me whither l the 
vanished day is borne. 

CHORUS 

More grievously dost thou hold our minds in 
doubt. Tell thou what is this thing which makes 
thee shudder, and point out the doer of it. I 
ask not who it is, but which. 2 Speak out and 
quickly. 

MESSENGER 

On the summit of the citadel a part of Pelops' 
palace faces south ; its farthest side rises to moun- 
tainous height, and o'erlooks the city, having beneath 
its menace the people, insolent to their kings. Here 
gleams the great hall that could contain a multitude, 
whose gilded architraves columns glorious with varied 
hues upbear. Behind this general hall, which nations 
throng, the gorgeous palace stretches out o'er many 
a space ; and, deep withdrawn, there lies a secret 
spot containing in a deep vale an ancient grove, the 
kingdom's innermost retreat. Here 110 tree ever 
affords cheerful shade or is pruned by any knife ; but 
the yew-tree and the cypress and woods of gloomy 
ilex-trees wave obscure, above which, towering high, 
an oak looks down and overtops the grove. From 

1 i.e. to the other side of the world. 
3 It must be one of the two brothers. 

145 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

hinc auspicari regna Tantalidae solent, 

hinc petere lapsis rebus ac dubiis opem. 

affixa inhaerent dona ; vocales tubae 

fractique currus, spolia Myrtoi maris, 660 

victaeque falsis axibus pendent rotae 

et omne gentis facinus ; hoc Phrygius loco 

fixus tiaras Pelopis, hie praeda hostium 

et de triumpho picta barbarico chlamys. 

Fons stat sub umbra tristis et nigra piger 
liaeret palude ; talis est dirae Stygis 
deformis unda quae facit caelo fidem. 
hinc nocte caeca gemere ferales deos 
fama est, catenis lucus excussis sonat 
ululantque manes, quidquid audire est metus 670 
illic videtur ; errat antiquis vetus 
emissa bustis turba et insultant loco 
maiora notis monstra ; quin tota solet 
micare silva flamma, et excelsae trabes 
ardent sine igne. saepe latratu nemus 
trino remugit, saepe simulacris domus 
attonita magnis. nee dies sedat metum ; 
nox propria luco est et superstitio mferum 
in luce media regnat. hinc orantibus 
responsa dantur certa, cum ingenti sono 680 

laxantur adyto fata et inmugit specus 
vocem deo solvente. 

Quo postquam furens 
intravit Atreus liberos fratris trahens, 
ornantur arae quis queat digne eloqui ? 
post terga iuvenum nobiles religat manus 

146 



THYESTES 

this spot the sons of Tantalus are wont to enter on 
their reign, here to seek aid midst calamity and 
doubt. Here hang their votive gifts ; resounding 
trumpets and broken chariots, spoils of the Myrtoan 
Sea, 1 and wheels o'ercome by treacherous axle-trees 
hang there, and memorials of the race's every crime ; 
in this place is Pelops' Phrygian turban hung, here 
spoil of the enemy, and the embroidered robe, token 
of triumph o'er barbaric foes. 

665 A dismal spring starts forth beneath the shadow, 
and sluggish in a black pool creeps along ; such are 
the ugly waters of dread Styx, on which the gods 
take oath. 'Tis said that from this place in the dark 
night the gods of death make moan ; with clanking 
chains the grove resounds, and the ghosts howl 
mournfully. Whatever is dreadful but to hear of, 
there is seen ; throngs of the long-since dead come 
forth from their ancient tombs and walk abroad, 
and creatures more monstrous than men have known 
spring from the place ; nay more, through all the 
wood flames go flickering, and the lofty beams 
glow without help of fire. Oft-times the grove 
re-echoes with three-throated bayings ; oft-times 
the house is affrighted with huge, ghostly shapes. 
Nor is terror allayed by day ; the grove is a night 
unto itself, and the horror of the underworld reigns 
even at midday. From this spot sure responses are 
given to those who seek oracles ; with thundering 
noise the fates are uttered from the shrine, and 
the cavern roars when the god sends forth his voice. 

682 When to this place maddened Atreus came, 
dragging his brother's sons, the altars were decked 
but who could worthily describe the deed ? Be- 
hind their backs he fetters the youths' princely 

1 See Index s.v. " Myrtilus." 

147 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

et maesta vitta capita purpurea ligat ; 
non tura desunt, non sacer Bacchi liquor 
tangensque salsa victimam culter mola. 
servatur omnis ordo, ne tantum nefas 
non rite fiat. 

CHORVS 
Quis manum ferro admovet ? 690 

NVNTIVS 

Ipse est sacerdos, ipse funesta preee 
letale carmen ore violento canit, 
stat ipse ad aras, ipse devotos neci 
contrectat et componit et ferro admovet l ; 
attendit ipse nulla pars sacri perit. 
lucus tremescit, tota succusso solo 
nutavit aula, dubia quo pondus daret 
ac fluctuant! similis ; e laevo aethere 
atrum cucurrit limitem sidus trahens. 
libata in ignes vina mutato fluunt 700 

cruenta Baccho, regium capiti decus 
bis terque lapsum est, flevit in templis ebur. 

Movere cunctos monstra, sed solus sibi 
immotus Atreus constat atque ultro deos 
terret minantes. iamque dimissa mora 
adsistit aris, torvum et obliquum intuens. 
ieiuna silvis qualis in Gangeticis 
inter iuvencos tigris erravit duos, 
utriusque praedae cupida quo primum ferat 
incerta morsus (flectit hue rictus suos, 710 

illo reflectit et famem dubiam tenet), 
sic durus Atreus capita devota impiae 
speculatur irae. quern prius mactet sibi 

1 The fall form of this technical phrase w seen in line 690. 
148 



THYESTES 

hands nnd their sad brows he binds with purple 
fillets. Nothing is lacking, neither incense, nor 
sacrificial wine, the knife, the salted meal to sprinkle 
on the victims. The accustomed ritual is all ob- 
served, lest so great a crime be not duly wrought. 

CHORUS 
Who lays his hand unto the knife ? 

MESSENGER 

Himself is priest ; himself with baleful prayer 
chants the death-song with boisterous utterance ; 
himself stands by the altar ; himself handles those 
doomed to death, sets them in order and lays hand 
upon the knife ; himself attends to all no part of 
the sacred rite is left undone. The grove begins to 
tremble ; the whole palace sways with the quaking 
earth, uncertain whither to fling its ponderous mass, 
and seems to waver. From the left quarter of the 
sky rushes a star, dragging a murky trail. The 
wine, poured upon the fire, changes from wine and 
flows as blood ; from the king's head falls the crown 
twice and again, and the ivory statues in the temples 
weep. 

703 These portents moved all, but Atreus alone, 
true to his purpose, stands, and e'en appals the 
threatening gods. And now, delay at end, he stands 
before the altar with lowering, sidelong glance. As 
in the jungle by the Ganges river a hungry tigress 
wavers between two bulls, eager for each prey, but 
doubtful where first to set her fangs (to the one she 
turns her jaws, then to the other turns, and keeps 
her hunger waiting), so does cruel Atreus eye the 
victims doomed by his impious wrath. He hesitates 

149 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

dubitat, secunda deinde quern caede immolet. 
nee interest, sed dubitat et saevum scelus 
iuvat ordinare. 

CHORVS 

Quern tamen ferro occupat ? 

NVNTIVS 

Primus locus (ne desse pietatem putes) 
avo dicatur : Tantalus prima hostia est. 

CHORVS 
Quo iuvenis animo, quo tulit vultu necem ? 

NVNTIVS 

Stetit sui securus et non est preces 720 

perire frustra passus ; ast illi ferus 
in vulnere ensem abscondit et penitus premens 
iugulo manum commisit : educto stetit 
ferro cadaver, cumque dubitasset diu, 
hac parte an ilia caderet, in patruum cadit. 
tune ille ad aras Plisthenem saevus trahit 
adicitque fratri ; colla percussa amputat ; 
cervice caesa truncus in pronum ruit, 
querulum cucurrit murmure incerto caput, 

CHORVS 

Quid deinde gemina caede perfunctus facit ? 7SG 
puerone parcit an scelus sceleri ingerit ? 



150 



THYESTES 

within himself whom first to slay, whom next to 
sacrifice by the second stroke. It matters not, but 
still he hesitates, and gloats over the ordering of his 
savage crime. 

CHORUS 

Whom, for all that, does he first attack with the 
steel ? 

MESSENGER 

The place of honour (lest you deem him lacking 
in reverence) to his grandsire 1 is allotted Tantalus 
is the first victim. 

CHORUS 

With what spirit, with what countenance bore the 
lad his death ? 

MESSENGER 

Careless of self he stood, nor did he plead, knowing 
such prayer were vain ; but in his wound the savage 
buried the sword and, deep thrusting, joined hand 
with throat. The sword withdrawn, the corpse still 
stood erect, and when it had wavered long whether 
here or there to fall, it fell upon the uncle. Then 
Plisthenes to the altar did that butcher drag and set 
him near his brother. His head with a blow he 
severed ; down fell the body when the neck was 
smitten, and the head rolled away, grieving with 
murmur inarticulate. 

CHORUS 

What did he then after the double murder ? Did 
he spare one boy, or did he heap crime on crime ? 

1 .. the boy, Tantalus, is named after his grandfather. 
This " place of honour " is a ghastly jest. 

151 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

NVNTIVS 

Silva iubatus qualis Armenia leo 
in caede multa victor armento incubat 
(cruore rictus madidus et pulsa fame 
non ponit iras ; hinc et hinc tauros premens 
vitulis minatur dente iam lasso piger) 
non aliter Atreus saevit atque ira tumet, 
ferrumque gemina caede perfusum tenens, 
oblitus in quern fureret, infesta manu 
exegit ultra corpus ; ac pueri statim 740 

pectore receptus ensis in tergo exstitit. 
cadit ille et aras sanguine extinguens suo 
per utrumque vulnus moritur. 

CHORVS 

O saevum seel us ! 
NVNTIVS 

Exhorruistis ? hactenus si stat nefas, 
pius est. 

CHORVS 

An ultra maius aut atrocius 
natura recipit ? 

NVNTIVS 

Sceleris hunc finem putas? 
gradus est. 

CHORVS 

Quid ultra potuit ? obiecit feris 
lanianda forsan corpora atque igne arcuit? 

NVNTIVS 

Vtiiiam arcuisset ! ne tegat functos humus 
nee solvat ignis ' avibus epulandos licet 750 



152 



THYESTES 

MESSENGER 

E'en as a maned lion in the Armenian woods with 
much slaughter falls victorious on the herd (his jaws 
reek with gore, and still, though hunger is appeased, 
he rages on ; now here, now there charging the bulls, 
he threatens the calves, sluggishly now and with 
weary fangs) not otherwise Atreus raves and swells 
with wrath and, still grasping his sword drenched 
with double slaughter, scarce knowing 'gainst whom 
he rages, with deadly hand he drives clean through 
the body ; and the sword, entering the boy's breast, 
straightway stood out upon his back. He falls and, 
staining the altar with his blood, dies by a double 
wound. 

CHORUS 

Oh, savage crime ! 

MESSENGER 

Are you so horror-stricken? If only the crime 
stops there, 'tis piety. 

CHORUS 

Does nature admit crime still greater or more 
dread ? 

MESSENGER 

Crime's limit deemst thou this ? 'Tis the first 
step of crime. 

CHORUS 

What further could he do? Did he perchance 
throw the bodies to the beasts to tear, and refuse 
them fire ? 

MESSENGER 

Would that he had refused ! I pray not that earth 
cover or fire consume the dead ! He may give them 
to the birds to feast upon, may drag them out as a 

153 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

ferisque triste pabulum saevis trahat 
votum est sub hoc quod esse supplicium solet 
pater insepultos spectet ! o nullo scelus 
credibile in aevo quodque posteritas neget 
erepta vivis exta pectoribus tremunt 
spirantque venae corque adhuc pavidum salit. 
at ille fibras tractat ac fata inspicit 
et adhuc calentes viscerum venas notat. 

Postquam hostiae placuere, securus vacat 
iam fratris epulis. ipse divisum secat 760 

in membra corpus, amputat trunco tenus 
umeros patentes et lacertorum moras, 
denudat artus durus atque ossa amputat ; 
tantum ora servat et datas fidei man us. 
haec veribus haerent viscera et lentis data 
stillant caminis, ilia flammatus latex 
candente aeno iactat. impositas dapes 
transiluit ignis inque trepidantes focos 
bis ter regestus et pati iussus moram 
invitus ardet. stridet in veribus iecur ; 770 

nee facile dicam corpora an flammae magis 
gemuere. piceos ignis in fumos abit ; 
et ipse fumus, tristis ac nebula gravis, 
non rectus exit seque in excelsum levat 
ipsos penates nube deformi obsidet. 

O Phoebe patiens, fugeris retro licet 
medioque ruptum merseris caelo diem, 
sero occidisti. lancinat natos pater 
artusque mandit ore funesto suos ; 
nitet fluente madidus unguento comam 780 

gravisque vino ; saepe praeclusae cibum 
tenuere fauces, in malis unum hoc tuis 
154 



THYESTES 

ghastly meal for ravenous beasts oh, after what 
befell, one might pray for what is oft held punish- 
ment unburied may the father gaze upon his sons ! 
O crime incredible to any age, which coming genera- 
tions will deny torn from the still living breasts the 
vitals quiver ; the lungs still breathe and the flutter- 
ing heart still beats. But he handles the organs and 
enquires the fates, and notes the markings of the 
still warm entrails. 

759 When with the victims he has satisfied himself, 
he is now free to prepare his brother's banquet. 
With his own hands he cuts the body into parts, 
severs the broad shoulders at the trunk, and the 
retarding arms, heartlessly strips off the flesh and 
severs the bones ; the heads only he saves, and the 
hands that had been given to him in pledge of faith. 
Some of the flesh is fixed on spits and, set before 
slow fires, hangs dripping; other parts boiling water 
tosses in heated kettles. The fire overleaps the 
feast that is set before it and, twice and again thrown 
back upon the shuddering hearth and forced to tarry 
there, burns grudgingly. The liver sputters on the 
spits ; nor could I well say whether the bodies or the 
flames made more complaint. The fire dies down in 
pitchy smoke ; and the smoke itself, a gloomy and 
heavy smudge, does not rise straight up and lift itself 
in air upon the household gods themselves in dis- 
figuring cloud it settles. 

776 O all-enduring Phoebus, though thou didst 
shrink afar, and in mid-sky didst bury the darkened 
day, still thou didst set too late. The father rends 
his sons and with baleful jaws chews his own flesh ; 
with hair dripping with liquid nard he sits resplendent, 
heavy with wine ; oft-times the food sticks in his 
choking gullet. In the midst of these thy woes, 

155 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

bonum est, Thyesta, quod mala ignoras tua. 
sed et hoc peribit. verterit currus licet 
sibi ipse Titan obvium ducens iter 
tenebrisque lacinus obruat tetrum novis 
nox missa ab ortu tempore alieno gravis, 
tamen videndum est. tota patefient mala. 



CHORVS 

Quo terrarum superumque parens, 
cuius ad ortus noctis opacae 790 

decus omne fugit, quo vertis iter 
medioque diem perdis Olympo? 
cur, Phoebe, tuos rapis aspectus ? 
nondum serae nuntius horae 
nocturna vocat lumina Vesper ; 
nondum Hesperiae flexura rotae 
iubet emeritos solvere currus ; 
nondum in noctem vergente die 
tertia misit bucina signum ; 
stupet ad subitae tempora cenae 800 

nondum fessis bubus arator. 
quid te aetherio pepulit cursu ? 
quae causa tuos limite certo 
deiecit equos ? numquid aperto 
carcere Ditis victi temptant 
bella Gigantes ? numquid Tityos 
pectore fesso renovat veteres 
saucius iras ? num reiecto 
latus explicuit monte Typhoeus ? 
numquid struitur via Phlegraeos 810 

alta per hostes et Thessalicum 
Thressa premitur Pelion Ossa ? 

1 i.e. the day's. * i.e. in mid-heaven, at noon. 
156 



THYESTES 

Thyestes, this only good remains, that thou knowest 
not thy woes. But even this will perish. Though 
Titan himself should turn his chariot back, taking 
the opposite course ; though heavy night, rising at 
dawn and at another's 1 time, with strange shadows 
should bury this ghastly deed, still it must out. 
There is no sin but it shall be revealed. 

[Unnatural darkness has settled over the world.] 

CHORUS 

Whither, O father of the lands and skies, before 
whose rising thick night with all her glories flees, 
whither dost turn thy course and why dost blot out 
the day in mid-Olympus ? 2 Why, O Phoebus, dost 
snatch away thy face ? Not yet does Vesper, 
twilight's messenger, summon the fires of night ; not 
yet does thy wheel, turning its western goal, bid free 
thy steeds from their completed task ; not yet as day 
fades into night has the third trump sounded ; 3 the 
ploughman with oxen yet unwearied stands amazed at 
his supper-hour's quick coming. What has driven 
thee from thy heavenly course ? What cause from 
their fixed track has turned aside thy horses? Is 
the prison-house of Dis thrown wide and are the 
conquered Giants again essaying war ? Doth sore- 
wounded Tityos renew in his weary breast his ancient 
wrath ? Has Typhoeus thrown off the mountainous 
mass and set his body free? Is a highway being built 
by the Phlegraean 4 foe, and does Thessalian Pelion 
press on Thracian Ossa ? 

3 The Greek day was divided into three parts of four 
hours each. The third trump sounding would indicate the 
beginning of day's last third. 

4 t . the Giants, so called from Phlegra, a valley in Thrace, 
where started their battle against the gods. 

157 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Solitae mundi periere vices ; 
cihil occasuSj nihil ortus erit. 
stupet Eoos, assueta deo 
tradere frenos genetrix primae 
roscida lucis, perversa sui 
limina rcgni ; nescit fessos 
tinguere currus nee fumarites 
sudore iubas mergere ponto. 820 

ipse insueto novus hospitio 
Sol Auroram videt occiduus, 
tenebrasque iubet surgere nondum 
nocte parata. non succedunt 
astra nee ullo micat igne polus, 
non Luna graves digerit umbras. 

Sed quidquid id est, utinam nox sit! 
trepidant, trepidant pectora magno 
percussa metu : 

ne fatali cuncta ruina 830 

quassata labent iterumque deos 
hominesque premat deforme chaos, 
iterum terras et mare cingens 
et vaga picti sidera mundi 
n at ura tegat. non aeternae 
facis exortu dux astrorum 
saecula ducens dabit aestatis 
brumaeque notas, non Phoebeis 
obvia flammis demet nocti 
Luna timores vincetque sui 840 

fratris habenas, curvo brevius 
limite currens. ibit in unum 
congesta sinum turba deorum. 
hie qui sacris pervius astris 
secat obliquo tramite zonas 
flectens longos signifer annos, 
lapsa videbit sidera labens; 

158 



THYESTES 

813 Heaven's accustomed alternations are no more; 
no setting, no rising shall there be again. The dewy 
mother l of the early dawn, wont to hand o'er to the 
god his morning reins, looks in amaze upon the 
disordered threshold of her kingdom ; she is not 
skilled 2 to bathe his weary chariot, nor to plunge his 
steeds, reeking with sweat, beneath the sea. Startled 
himself at such unwonted welcoming, the sinking 
sun beholds Aurora, and bids the shadows arise, 
though night is not yet ready. No stars come out ; 
the heavens gleam not with any fires : no moon 
dispels the darkness* heavy pall. 

827 But whatever this may be, would that night 
were here ! Trembling, trembling are our hearts, 
sore smit with fear, lest all things fall shattered in 
fatal ruin and once more gods and men be o'erwhelmed 
by formless chaos ; lest the lands, the encircling sea, 
and the stars that wander in the spangled sky, nature 
blot out once more. No more by the rising of his 
quenchless torch shall the leader of the stars, guiding 
the procession of the years, mark off the summer and 
the winter times ; no more shall Luna, reflecting 
Phoebus' rays, dispel night's terrors, and outstrip 
her brother's reins, as in scantier space 8 she speeds 
on her circling path. Into one abyss shall fall the 
heaped-up throng of gods. 4 The Zodiac, which, 
making passage through the sacred stars, crosses the 
zones obliquely, guide and sign-bearer for the slow- 
moving years, falling itself, shall see the fallen 

1 Aurora. 2 As is Tethys of the western sea. 

8 i.e. her monthly orbit. 

4 By gods is meant planets, i.e. Saturn, Jupiter, Mars. 

159 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

hie qui nondum vere benigno 

redd it Zephyro vela tepenti, 

Aries praeceps ibit in undas, 850 

per quas pavidam vexerat Hellen ; 

hie qui nitido Taurus cornu 

praefert Hyadas, secum Geminos 

trahet et curvi bracchia Cancri ; 

Leo flammiferis aestibus ardens 

iterum e caelo cadet Herculeus, 

cadet in terras Virgo relictas 

iustaeque cadent pondera Librae 

secumque trahent Scorpion acrem ; 

et qui nervo tenet Haemonio 860 

pinnata senex spicula Chiron, 

rupto perdet spicula nervo ; 

pigram referens hiemem gelidus 

cadet Aegoceros frangetque tuam, 

quisquis es, urnam ; tecum excedent 

ultima caeli sidera Pisces, 

Plostraque numquam perfusa mari 

merget condens omnia gurges ; 

et qui medias dividit Vrsas, 

fiuminis instar lubricus Anguis, 870 

magnoque minor iuncta Draconi 

frigida duro Cynosura gelu, 

custosque sui tardus plaustri 

iam non stabilis ruet Arctophylax. 

1 This lion and other monsters were said to have fallen 
from the moon. 

2 Astraea. See Index. 

3 Chiron is Sagittarius in the constellations of the Zodiac. 

4 Capricornus. 

5 A reference to the Zodiacal sign, Aquarius, the "Water- 
man," concerning whose identity ancient authorities have 
not agreed. 

160 



THYESTES 

constellations ; the Ram, who, ere kindly spring has 
come, gives back the sails to the warm West-wind, 
headlong shall plunge into the waves o'er which he 
had borne the trembling Helle ; the Bull, who 
before him on bright horns bears the Hyades, shall 
drasr the Twins down with him and the Crab's wide- 

o 

curving claws ; Alcides' Lion, with burning heat 
inflamed, once more l shall fall down from the sky ; 
the Virgin 2 shall fall to the earth she once abandoned, 
and the Scales of justice with their weights shall fall 
and with them shall drag the fierce Scorpion down ; 
old Chiron, 3 who sets the feathered shafts upon 
Haemonian chord, shall lose his shafts from the 
snapped bowstring; the frigid Goat 4 who brings 
back sluggish winter, shall fall and break thy urn, 
whoe'er thou 5 art ; with thee shall fall the Fish, last 
of the stars of heaven, and the Wain, 6 which was 
ne'er bathed by the sea, shall be plunged beneath 
the all-engulfing waves ; the slippery Serpent which, 
gliding like a river, separates the Bears, shall fall, 
and icy Cynosura, the Lesser Bear, together with the 
Dragon vast, congealed with cold ; and that slow- 
moving driver of his wain, Arctophylax, 7 no longer 
fixed in place, shall fall. 

* Otherwise known as the "Bear." The constellation is 
unfortunately named here, since there was no mythological 
reason why the Wain should not be bathed in the Ocean, as 
was the case with the Bear. 

7 Seneca badly mixes his mythology here. Arctophylax, 
the " bear-keeper," is appropriate only if the Bear is men- 
tioned in his connection ; he should be Bootes if the com- 
panion constellation is thought of as the Wain. 

161 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Nos e tanto visi populo 
digni premeret quos everso 
cardine mundus ? 
in nos aetas ultima venit ? 
o nos dura sorte creates, 

seu perdidimus solem miseri, 880 

sive expulimus ! 

abeant questus, discede, timor ! 
vitae est avidus quisquis non vult 
mundo secum pereunte mori. 

ATREVS 

Aequalis astris gradior et cunctos super 
altum superbo vertice attingens polum. 
nunc decora regni teneo, nunc solium patris. 
dimitto superos ; summa votorum attigi. 
bene est, abunde est, iam sat est etiam mihi. 
sed cur satis sit ? pergam et impleto patre 1 890 
funere suorum. 2 ne quid obstaret pudor, 
dies recessit. perge dum caelum vacat. 
utinam quidem tenere fugientes deos 
possem et coactos trahere, ut ultricem dapem 
omnes viderent ! quod sat est, videat pater, 
etiam die nolente discutiam tibi 
tenebras, miseriae sub quibus latitant tuae. 
nimis diu conviva secure iaces 
hilarique vultu, iam satis mensis datum est 
satisque Baccho ; sooiio tanta ad mala 900 

opus est Thyeste. 

Turba famularis, fores 
templi relaxa, festa patefiat domus. 

1 So L. Mutter, followed by Richter : MSS. implebo patrem. 

2 Leo deletes lines 890 b , 891 n . 

1 Probably referring to the golden ram. See 11. 223 ff. 

2 i.e. I need make no more prayers to them. 

162 



THYESTES 

875 Have we of all mankind been deemed de- 
serving that heaven, its poles uptorn, should over- 
whelm us ? In our time has the last day come ? 
Alas for us, by bitter fate begotten, to misery 
doomed, whether we have lost the sun or banished 
it ! Away with lamentations, begone, O fear ! 
Greedy indeed for life is he who would not die 
when the world is perishing in his company. 

[Enter ATREUS, exulting.] 

ATREUS 

Peer of the stars I move, and, towering over all, 
touch with proud head the lofty heavens. Now the 
glory 1 of the realm I hold, now my father's throne. 
I release the gods, 2 for the utmost of my prayers 
have I attained. 'Tis well, 'tis more than well, now 
'tis enough even for me. But why enough ? Nay, 
I will go forward, e'en though the father is full-fed 
with his dead sons. 3 That shame might not hold 
me back, day has departed. On ! while heaven is 
tenantless. O that I might stay the fleeing deities, 4 
might force and draw them hither that they all 
might see the avenging feast ! But 'tis enough if 
but the father see. Even though daylight refuse 
me aid, I'll dispel the darkness from thee, beneath 
which thy woes are lurking. Too long thou liest at 
feast with care-free and cheerful countenance ; now 
enough time has been given to tables, enough to 
wine ; for such monstrous ills there needs Thyestes 
sober. [To the slaves.] Ye menial throng, open the 
temple doors, let the banquet-hall be disclosed. 'Tis 

3 The horror of the draught of blood and wine is still to 
follow. 

4 i.e. the stars which have fled in horror from the sky. 

163 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 
libet videre, capita natorum intuens 
quos det colores, verba quae primus dolor 
effundat aut ut spiritu expulso stupens 
corpus rigescat. fructus hie operis mei est. 
miserum videre nolo, sed dum fit miser. 

Aperta multa tecta conlucent face, 
resupinus ipse purpurae atque auro incubat, 
vino gravatum fulciens laeva caput. Q10 

eructat. o me caelitum excelsissimum, 
regum atque regem ! vota transcendi mea. 
satur est, capaci ducit argento merum 
ne parce potu ; restat etiamnunc cruor 
tot hostiarum ; veteris hunc Bacchi color 
abscondet. hoc, hoc mensa cludatur scypho. 
mixtum suorum sanguinem genitor bibat : 
meum bibisset. ecce, iam cantus ciet 
festasque voces nee satis menti imperat. 



THVESTES 



Pectora longis hebetata malis, 
iam sollicitas ponite curas. 
fugiat maeror fugiatque pavor, 
fugiat trepidi comes exilii 
tristis egestas rebusque gravis 
pudor afflictis ; magis unde cadas 
quam quo refert. magnum, ex alto 
culmine lapsum stabilem in piano 
figere gressum ; magnum, ingenti 
164 



THYESTES 

sweet to note, when he sees his children's heads, 
what hue his cheeks display, what words his first 
grief pours forth, how his body, breathless with the 
shock, grows stiff. This is the fruit of all my toil. 
To see him wretched I care riot, but to see the 
wretchedness come upon him. 

[The doors are thrown open, showing THYESTES at the 

banquet-tabled] 

908 The open hall with many a torch is gleaming. 
There he himself reclines at full length on gold and 
purple, propping his wine-heavy head on his left 
hand. He belches with content. Oh, most exalted 
of the gods am I, and king of kings ! I have o'er- 
topped my hopes. His meal is done ; from the 
great silver cup he quaffs the wine spare not thy 
drinking; there still remains the blood of all the 
victims, and this the colour of old wine will well 
disguise. With this, this goblet let the meal be 
done. His sons' mingled blood let the father 
drink ; he would have drunk my own. Lo, now he 
raises his joyous voice in song, nor well controls his 
spirit. 

[THVESTKS sits alone at the banquet -table, half overcome 
with wine ; he tries to sing and be gay, but, in spile 
of this, some vague premonition of evil neighs upon 
his spirits.] 

THYESTES 

O heart, dulled with long miseries, now put aside 
anxious cares. Away with grief, away with terror, 
away with bitter want, the companion of hunted 
exiles, and shame that weighs heavy on misfortune ; 
more matters it whence thou fallest, than to what. 
'Tis a great thing, when fall'n from a lofty pinnacle, 
to set foot firmly on the plain ; great, midst the 

165 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

strafe malorum pressum fracti 

pondera regni non inHexa 930 

cervice pati nee degenerem 

victurnque mails rectum impositas 

ferre ruinas. sed iam saevi 

nubila fati pelle ac miseri 

temporis omnes dimitte notas ; 

redeant vultus ad laeta boni, 

veterem ex animo mitte Thyesten. 

Proprium hoc miseros sequitur vitium, 
numquam rebus credere laetis ; 
redeat felix fortuna licet, 94-0 

tamen afflictos gaudere piget. 
quid me revocas f'estumque vetas 
celebrare diem, quid flere iubes, 
nulla surgens dolor ex causa ? 
quid me prohibes flore decent! 
vincire comam ? prohibet, prohibet 
vernae capiti fluxere rosae, 
pingui madidus crinis amomo 
inter subitos stetit horrores, 
imber vultu nolente cadit, 950 

venit in medias voces gemitus. 
maeror lacrimas amat assuetas, 
flendi miseris dira cupido est. 
libet infaustos mittere questus, 
libet et Tyrio saturas ostro 
rumpere vestes, ululare libet. 
mittit luctus signa futuri 
mens, ante sui praesaga mali ; 
instat nautis fen tempestas, 
cum sine vento tranquilla tument. 960 

quos tibi luctus quosve tumultus 
fingis, demens ? credula praesta 
pectora fratri. iam, quidquid id est, 

166 



THYESTES 

ruins of huge and crushing woes, with unbending 
neck to endure a wrecked kingdom's weight, and 
with soul heroic, by woes unconquered, erect to bear 
the burden of misfortune. But now, banish the 
clouds of bitter fate, and remove all marks of those 
unhappy days ; greet present happiness with joyful 
countenance, and dismiss the old Thyestes from thy 
thoughts. 

938 But this peculiar failing dogs the wretched, 
never to believe that happiness is here ; though 
lucky fortune come again, still they who have suffered 
find it hard to smile. Why dost restrain me and 
oppose my celebration of this joyful day ? Why dost 
bid me weep, O grief, that rises from no cause? 
Why dost forbid with beauteous flowers to wreathe 
my hair ? It forbids, it does forbid ! The spring 
roses have fallen from my head ; my hair, dripping 
with precious nard, has started up in sudden horror, 
a rain of tears falls down my unwilling cheeks, and 
in the midst of speech comes groaning. Grief loves 
her accustomed tears, and to the wretched comes an 
ominous desire for weeping. Even so, I long to 
utter ill-omened lamentation, I long to rend these gar- 
ments, rich dyed with Tyrian purple, I long to shriek 
aloud. My mind gives warnings of distress at hand, 
presaging its own woe ; oft does a fierce storm draw 
nigh to mariners, when without wind the tranquil 
waters heave. What distresses, what upheavals dost 
thou imagine for thyself, thou fool ? Let thy heart 
trust thy brother. Already, whate'er it be, either 

167 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

vel sine causa vel sero times, 
nolo infelix, sed vagus intra 
terror oberrat, subitos fundunt 
oculi fletus, nee causa subest. 
dolor an metus est ? an habet lacrimas 
magna voluptas ? 

ATREVS 

Festum diem, germane, consensu pari 970 

celebremus ; hie est, sceptra qui firmet mea 
solidamque pacis alliget certae fidem. 

THYESTES 

Satias dapis me nee minus Bacchi tenet, 
augere cumulus hie voluptatem potest, 
si cum meis gaudere felici datur. 

ATREVS 

Hie esse natos crede in amplexu patris ; 
hie sunt eruntque ; nulla pars prolis tuae 
tibi subtrahetur. ora quae exoptas dabo 
totumque turba iam sua implebo patrem. 
satiaberis, ne metue. nunc mixti meis 980 

iucunda mensae sacra iuvenilis colunt; 
sed accientur. poculum infuso cape 
gentile Baccho. 

THYESTES 

Capio fraternae dapis 
donum ; paternis vina libentur deis, 
tune hauriantur. sed quid hoc ? nolunt manus 
parere, crescit pondus et dextram gravat ; 
admotus ipsis Bacchus a labris fugit 
168 



THYESTES 

causelessly or too late thou fearest. I would fain 
not be unhappy, but within me vague terror wanders, 
sudden tears pour from mine eyes, and all for naught. 
Is it from grief or fear? Or doth great joy hold 
tears ? 

ATREUS 

[advancing to his brother with show of effusive affection] 

With mutual accord, brother, let us keep this 
festal day j this is the day which shall make strong 
my sceptre and bind firm the bonds of peace assured. 



THYESTES [pushing the remains of the feast from 

I have had my fill of food, and no less of wine. 
My pleasure by this crowning joy can be increased, 
if with my sons I may share my happiness. 

ATREUS 

Be sure that here, in their father's bosom, are thy 
sons ; here now, and here shall be ; no one of thy 
children shall be taken from thee. The faces thou 
desirest shall be thine, and wholly with his family 
will I fill the sire. Thou shalt be satisfied, have 
no fear of that. Just now, in company with my 
own, at the children's table, they are sharing the 
joyful feast ; but 1 will summon them. Take thou 
this cup, an heirloom, filled with wine. 

THYESTES 

I accept this bounty of my brother's feast ; let wine 
be poured to our ancestral gods, and then be quaffed. 
But what is this ? My hands refuse their service, 
and the cup grows heavy and weighs down my hand ; 
the lifted wine recoils from my very lips; around my 

169 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

circaque rictus ore deccpto fluit 

et ipsa trepido mensa subsiluit solo. 

vix lucet ignis ; ipse quin aether gravis 990 

inter diem noctemque desertus stupet. 

quid hoc ? magis magisque concussi labant 

convexa caeli ; spissior densis coit 

caligo tenebris noxque se in noctem addidit ; 

fugit omne sidus. quidquid est, fratri precor 

natisque parcat, omnis in vile hoc caput 

abeat procella. redde iam natos inihi 1 



ATREVS 

Reddam. et tibi illos nullus eripiet dies. 

THYESTKS 

Quis hie tumultus viscera exagitat mea ? 
quid tremuit intus ? sentio impatiens onus 1000 
meumque gemitu non meo pectus gemit. 
adeste, nati, genitor infelix vocat, 
adeste. visis fugiet hie vobis dolor 
unde oblocuntur ? 

ATllEVS 

Expedi amplexus, pater; 
venere. natos ecquid agnoscis tuos ? 

THYESTES 

Agnosco fratrem. sustines tantum nefas 
gestare, Tellus ? non ad infernam St yga 
tenebrasque rnergis rupta et ingenti via 



1 Time itself, as indicated by the heavens, is in suspense. 
170 



THYESTES 

gaping jaws, cheating my mouth, it flows, and the very 
table leaps up from the trembling floor. The lights 
burn dim ; nay, the very heavens, grown heavy, stand 
in amaze 'twixt day and night, 1 deserted. 2 What next ? 
Now more, still more the vault of the shattered sky 
is tottering ; a thicker gloom with dense shades is 
gathering, and night has hidden away in a blacker 
night; every star is in full flight. Whate'er it is, I 
beg it may spare my brother and my sous, and may 
the storm break with all its force on this vile head. 
Give back now my sons to me ! 

ATREUS 

I will give them back, and no day shall tear them 
from thee. [Exif. 

THYESTES 

What is this tumult that disturbs my vitals? What 
trembles in me ? t feel a load that will not suffer 
me, and my breast groans with a groaning that is 
not mine. O come, my sons, your unhappy father 
calls you, come ; this pain will pass away at the sight 
of you whence come their reproachful voices ? 
[Re-enter ATREUS with a covered platter in his hands.] 

ATREUS 

Now, father, spread out thine arms ; they are here. 
[He uncovers the platter, revealing the severed heads of 
THYESTES' so7is.] Dost recognize thy sons? 

THYESTES 

I recognize my brother. Canst thou endure, O 
Earth, to bear a crime so monstrous ? Why dost not 
burst asunder and plunge thee down to the infernal 

8 i.e. by sun, moon, and stars. 

171 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

ad chaos inane regna cum rege abripis ? 

non tota ab imo tecta convellens solo 1010 

vertis Mycenas ? stare circa Tantalum 

uterque iam debuimus. hinc compagibus 

et hinc revulsis, si quid infra Tartara est 

avosque nostros, hue tuam inmani sinu 

demitte vallem nosque defossos tege 

Acheronte toto. noxiae supra caput 

animae vagentur nostrum et ardenti freto 

Phlegethon harenas igneus totas agens 

exilia supra nostra violentus fluat 

immota tellus pondus ignavum iacet, 1020 

fugere superi. 

ATREVS 

Iam accipe hos potius libens 
diu expetitos. nulla per fratrem est mora ; 
fruere, osculare, divide amplexus tribus. 

THYESTES 

Hoc foedus ? haec est gratia, haec fratris fides ? 
sic odia ponis ? non peto, incolumes pater 
natos ut habeam ; scelere quod salvo dari 
odioque possit, frater hoc fratrem rogo : 
sepelire liceat. redde quod cernas statim 
uri ; nihil te genitor habiturus rogo, 
sed perditurus. 

ATREVS 

Quidquid e natis tuis 1030 

superest habes, quodcumque non superest habes. 



172 



THYESTES 

Stygian shades and, by a huge opening to void chaos, 
snatch this kingdom with its king away ? Why dost 
not raze this whole palace to the very ground, and 
overturn Mycenae ? We should both of us long since 
have been with Tantalus. Rend asunder thy prison- 
bars on every side, and if there is any place 'neath 
Tartarus and our grandsires, 1 thither with huge abyss 
let down thy chasm and hide us buried beneath all 
Acheron. Let guilty souls wander above our head, 
and let fiery Phlegethon, with glowing flood down- 
pouring all his sands, flow tempestuous above our 
place of exile but the earth lies all unmoved, an 
insensate mass ; the gods have fled away. 

ATREUS 

Now, rather, take these with joy, whom thou hast 
so long desired. Thy brother delays thee not ; enjoy 
them, kiss them, divide thy embraces 'mongst the 
three. 

THYESTES 

Is this thy bond? Is this thy grace, this thy 
fraternal pledge ? Thus puttest thou hate away ? 
I do not ask that I, a father, may have my sons un- 
harmed ; what can be granted with crime and hate 
intact, this I, a brother, of a brother ask : that I may 
bury them. Give me back what thou mayst see 
burned at once. The father asks naught of thee 
with hopes of having, but of losing it. 

ATIIEUS 

Whatever of thy sons is left, thou hast ; whatever 
is not left, thou hast. 

1 He means Tantalus alone, using the plural for the 
singular by enallage. 

173 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

THYESTES 

Vtrumne saevis pabulum alitibus iacent, 
an beluis servantur, an pascunt feras ? 

ATREVS 
Epulatus ipse es impia natos dape. 

THYESTES 

Hoc est deos quod puduit, hoc egit diem 
aversum in ortus. quas miser voces dabo 
questusque quos ? quae verba sufficient mihi ? 
abscisa cerno capita et avulsas manus 
et rupta fractis cruribus vestigia 
hoc est quod avidus capere non potuit pater. 1040 
volvuntur intus viscera et clusum nefas 
sine exitu luctatur et quaerit fugam. 
da, frater, ensem (sanguinis multum mei 
habet ille) ; ferro liberis detur via. 
negatur ensis ? pectora inliso sonent 
contusa planctu sustine, infelix, manum, 
parcamus umbris. tale quis vidit nefas ? 
quis inhospitalis Caucasi rupem asperam 
Heniochus habitans quisve Cecropiis metus 
terris Procrustes? genitor en natos premo 1050 

premorque natis sceleris est aliquis modus ? 



ATREVS 

Sceleri modus debetur ubi facias scelus, 
non ubi reponas. hoc quoque exiguum est mihi. 
ex vulnere ipso sanguinem calidum in tua 
defundere ora debui, ut viventium 
biberes cruorem verba sunt irae data 

174 



THYESTES 

THYESTKS 

Do they lie a prey for the wild birds? Are they 
reserved for monsters ? Are they food for beasts ? 

ATHEUS 
Thyself hast feasted on thy sons, an impious meal. 

THYESTES 

'Twas this that shamed the gods ; this drove the 
day back against its dawning. What cries in my 
misery shall I utter, what complaints ? What words 
will suffice for me ? I see the severed heads, the 
torn-oflf hands, the feet wrenched from the broken 
legs this much the father, for all his greed, could 
not devour. Their flesh is turning round within me, 
and my imprisoned crime struggles vainly to come 
forth and seeks way of escape. Give me thy sword, 
O brother, the sword reeking with my blood ; by the 
steel let deliverance be given to my sons. Dost 
refuse the sword ? Then let my breast resound, 
bruised by crushing blows hold thy hand, unhappy 
man, let us spare the shades. Who ever beheld such 
crime? What Heniochian, dwelling on wild Caucasus' 
rough rocks, or what Procrustes, terror of the Ce- 
cropian land? Lo, I, the father, overwhelm my sons, 
and by my sons am overwhelmed of crime is there 
no limit ? 

ATREUS 

Crime should have limit, when the crime is wrought, 
not when repaid. E'en this is not enough for me. 
Straight from the very wound I should have poured 
the hot blood down thy throat, that thou mightst 
drink gore of thy living sons my wrath was cheated 

175 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

dum propero. ferro vulnera impresso dedi, 

cecidi ad aras, caede votiva focos 

placavi et artus, corpora exanima amputans, 

in parva carpsi frusta et haec ferventibus 1060 

demersi aenis, ilia lentis ignibus 

stillare iussi. membra nervosque abscidi 

viventibus, gracilique traiectas veru 

mugire fibras vidi et aggessi manu 

mea ipse flammas. omnia haec melius pater 

fecisse potuit, cecidit in cassum dolor : 

scidit ore natos impio, sed nesciens, 

sed nescientes 

THVESTES 
Clausa litoribus vagis 

n 

audite rnaria, vos quoque audite hoc seel us, 

quocumque, di, fugistis ; audite inferi, 1070 

audite terrae, Noxque Tartarea gravis 

et atra nube, vocibus nostris vaca 

(tibi sum relictus, sola tu miserum vides, 

tu quoque sine astris), vota non faciam improba, 

pro me nihil precabor et quid iam potest 

pro me esse ? vobis vota prospicient mea. 

tu, summe caeli rector, aetheriae potens 

dominator aulae, nubibus totum horridis 

convolve mundum, bella ventorum undique 

committe et omni parte violentum intona, 1080 

manuque 1 non qua tecta et immeritas domos 

telo petis minore, sed qua montium 

tergemina moles cecidit et qui montibus 

stabant pares Gigantes, haec arma expcdi 

1 So A : Leo, with E, manumque. 



THYESTES 

by my haste. With the deep-driven sword I smote 
them ; I slew them at the altars ; with their offered 
blood I appeased the sacred fires ; hewing their life- 
less bodies, into small scraps I tore them, and some 
into boiling cauldrons did I plunge, and some before 
slow fires I set to drip. Their limbs and sinews 1 
rent asunder while still they lived, and their livers, 
transfixed on slender spits and sputtering I saw, and 
with my own hand I fed the flames. All these things 
better the father might have done ; my grief has 
fallen fruitless ; with impious teeth he tore his sons, 
but unwittingly, but them unwitting. 1 

THYESTES 

Hear, O ye seas, by shifting shores imprisoned, and 
ye, too, hear this crime, whithersoever you have fled, 
ye gods ; hear, lords of the underworld ; hear, lands, 
and Night, heavy with black, Tartarean fogs, give ear 
unto my cries ; (to thee am I abandoned, thou only 
lookest on my woe, thou also forsaken of the stars ;) 
no wicked pleas will I make, naught for myself im- 
plore and what now can I ask in my own behalf? 
For you 2 shall my prayers be offered. O thou, ex- 
alted ruler of the sky, who sittest in majesty upon 
the throne of heaven, enwrap the whole universe in 
awful clouds, set the winds warring 011 every hand, 
and from every quarter of the sky let the loud 
thunders roll ; not with what hand thou seekest 
houses and undeserving homes, using thy lesser bolts, 
but with that hand by which the threefold mass of 
mountains fell, and the Giants, who stood level with 

1 Atreus would have had both father and sons conscious of 
what they did and suffered. 

a i.e. the gods of heaven, who have fled from the sight of 
crime, and whom he now addresses. 

177 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

ignesque torque, vindica amissum diem, 

iaculare flammas, lumen ereptum polo 

fulminibus exple. causa, ne dubites diu, 

utriusque mala sit ; si minus, mala sit mea : 

me pete, trisulco flammeam telo facem 

per pectus hoc transmitte. si natos pater 1090 

humare et igni tradere extremo volo, 

ego sum cremandus. si nihil superos movet 

nullumque telis impios numen petit, 

aeterna nox permaneat et tenebris tegat 

inmensa longis scelera. nil, Titan, queror, 

si perseveras. 

ATREVS 

Nunc meas laudo manus, 

nunc parta vera est palma. perdideram scelus, 
nisi sic doleres. liberos nasci inihi 
nunc credo, castis nunc fidem reddi toris. 

THYESTES 

Quid liberi meruere ? 

ATREVS 

Quod fuerant tui. 1100 

THYESTES 

Natos parenti 



ATREVS 

Fateor et, quod me iuvat, 



certos. 
178 



THYESTES 

the mountains these arms let loose and hurl thy 
fires. Make compensation for the banished day, 
brandish thy flames, and the light that was snatched 
from heaven with thy lightning's flash supply. Let 
the cause, lest long thou hesitate, of each one of us 
be evil ; if not, let mine be evil ; aim thou at me, 
through this heart send thy three-forked flaming 
bolt. If I their father would give his sons to burial 
and commit them to the funeral flames, I must 
myself be burned. But if naught moves the gods., 
and no divinity hurls darts against the impious, may 
night stay on for ever, and cover with endless dark- 
ness boundless crimes. No protest do I make, O 
sun, if thou continue steadfast. 1 

ATREUS 

Now do I praise my handiwork, now is the true 
palm won. I had wasted my crime, didst thou not 
suffer thus. Now do I believe my children are my 
own, now may I trust once more that my marriage- 
bed is pure. 

THYESTES 

What was my children's sin ? 

ATREUS 
That they were thine. 

THYESTES 

Sons to the father 2 

ATREUS 

Yea, and what gives me joy, surely thy sons. 

1 i.e. in hiding thy face, as at present. 

2 thou didst give to be devoured. 

179 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

THVESTES 

Piorum praesides tester deos. 

ATREVS 

Quin coniugales? 

THYESTES 

Scelere quis pensat scelus ? 

ATREVS 

Scio quid queraris : scelere praerepto doles, 
nee quod nefandas hauseris angit dapes ; 
quod non pararis. fuerat hie animus tibi 
instruere similes inscio fratri cibos 
et adiuvante liberos matre aggredi 
similique leto sternere. hoc unum obstitit 
tuos putasti. 

THYESTES 

Vindices aderunt dei ; 1110 

his puniendum vota te tradunt mea. 

ATREVS 
Te puniendum liberis trado tuis. 



80 



THYESTES 

THYESTES 

I call on the gods who guard the innocent. 

ATREUS 

Why not the marriage-gods ? 

THYESTES 

Who punishes crime with crime ? 

ATREUS 

I know what thou complainst of: thou grievest 
that I have forestalled thee in the crime, and art 
distressed, not because thou hast consumed the 
ghastly feast, but because thou didst not offer it 
to me. This had been thy purpose, to prepare for 
thine unwitting brother a like feast, and with their 
mother's aid to assail his sons and lay them low in 
like destruction. This one thing stayed thee thou 
didst think them thine. 

THYESTES 

The gods will be present to avenge ; to them for 
punishment my prayers deliver thee. 

ATREUS 
To thy sons for punishment do J deliver thee. 



181 



HERCVLES OETAEVS 



DRAMATIS PERSONAE 

HERCULES, son of Jupiter and Alcmena. 
HYLLUS, son of Hercules and Deianira. 
ALCMENA, daughter of Electry on , king of Mycenae. 

DEIANIRA, daughter of Oeneus, king of Aetolia, and wife of 
Hercules. 

IOLE, daughter of Eurytus, king of Oechalia. 
NURSE of Deianira. 

PHILOCTETKS, a prince of Thessaly, son of Poeas, and the 
faithful friend of Hercules. 

LICHAS, the messenger (persona muta) of Deianira to Hercules. 
CHORUS of Aetolian women, faithful to Deianira. 

CHORUS of Oechalian maidens, suffering captivity in company 
with lole. 

THE SCENE is laid, first in Euboea, and later at the home 
of Hercules in Trachin. 



ARGUMENT 

THE long, heroic life of Hercules has neared its end. 
His twelve great tasks, assigned him by Eurystheus 
through Juno's haired, have been done. His latest 
victory was over Eurytus, king of Occhalia. Him he 
slew and overthrew his house, because the monarch would 
not give him lole to wife. 

And now the hero, having overcome the world, and 
Pluto's realm beneath the earth, aspires to heaven. He 
sacrifices to Cenaean Jove, and prays at last to be 
received into his proper hone. 



HERCVLES OETAEVS 



HERCVLES 

SATOR deorum, cuius excussum manu 
utraeque Phoebi sentiunt fulmen domus, 
secure regna ; protuli pacem tibi, 
quacumque Nereus porrigi terras vetat. 
non est tonandum ; perfidi reges iacent, 
saevi tyranni. freginius quidquid fuit 
tibi fulminandum. sed mihi caelum, parens, 
adhuc negatur ? parui certe love 
ubique dignus teque testata est meuin 
patrem noverca. quid tamen nectis rnoras ? 10 

numquid timemur ? numquid impositum sibi 
non poterit Atlas ferre cum caelo Herculem? 
quid astra, genitor, quid negas ? mors me tibi 
certe remisit, omne concessit malum 
quod terra genuit, pontus aer inferi. 
nullus per urbes errat Arcadias leo, 
Stymphalis icta est, Maenali nulla est fera ; 
sparsit peremptus aureum serpeiis nemus 
et hydra vires posuit et iiotos Hebro 
cruore pingues hospitum fregi greges 20 



1 East and West, or both hemispheres. 

2 The Arcadian stag. Its capture was the third labour of 
Hercules. 

186 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

[ In Euboea, near Oechalia, after the overthrow of Eurytus, 

king of that city.] 

HERCULES 

O SIRE of gods, hurled by whose hand both homes 1 
of Phoebus feel the thunderbolt, reign thou un- 
troubled ; peace have I 'stablished for thee wherever 
Nereus forbids the land to extend its bounds. Thou 
needst not thunder now ; false kings lie low, and 
cruel tyrants. I have crushed all who merited thy 
bolts. But to me, father, is heaven still denied? 
Of a surety have I everywhere proved worthy Jove ; 
arid that thou art sire of mine my stepdame testifies. 
Yet why dost still contrive delays ? Am I cause of 
fear ? Will Atlas not avail to bear up Hercules 
placed upon him together with the sky ? Why, O 
father, why dost thou deny the stars to me ? Verily 
hath death given me back to thee ; and every evil 
thing which earth, sea, air, the lower world, produced, 
hath yielded to my might. No lion prowls amidst 
Arcadia's towns ; the Stymphalian bird is smitten ; 
the beast of Maenalus 2 is no more; the dragon, 3 
slain, hath sprinkled the golden orchard with his 
blood ; the hydra's 4 strength is gone ; the herds, 5 
well known to Hebrus, fat with strangers' blood, have 

3 Which guarded the apples of the Hesperides. See Index 
s.v. " Hesperides." 

4 See Index. 6 i.e. of Diomedes. 

187 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

hostisque traxi spolia Thermodontiae. 
vidi silentum fata nee tantum redi, 
sed trepidus atrum Cerberum vidit dies 
et ille solem. nullus Antaeus Libys 
animam resumit, cecidit ante aras suas 
Busiris, una est Geryon sparsus manu 
taurusque populis horridus centum pavor. 
quodcumque tellus genuit infesta occidit 
meaque fusum est dextera ; iratis dels 
non licuit esse. 

Si negat mundus feras SO 

~ nimum noverca, 1 redde nunc nato patrem 
vel astra forti. nee peto ut monstres iter ; 
permitte tantum, genitor ; inveniam viam. 
vel si times ne terra concipiat feras, 
properet malum quodcumque, dum terra Herculem 
habet videtque ; nam quis invadet mala 
aut quis per urbes rursus Argolicas erit 
lunonis odio dignus ? in tutum meas 
laudes redegi, nulla me tellus silet. 
me sensit ursae frigidum Scythicae genus 40 

Indusque Phoebo subditus, cancro Libys. 
te, clare Titan, tester : occurri tibi 
quacumque fulges, nee meos lux prosequi 
potuit triumphos, solis excessi vices 
intraque nostras substitit metas dies, 
natura cessit, terra defecit gradum : 
lassata prior est. nox et extremum chaos 

1 So Richter, with A : Leo f animum novercam, conjecturing 
tandem novercae. 

1 i.e. the golden girdle of Hippolyte, queen of the Amazons. 

2 The gods, in wrath, were supposed to have sent monsters 
on the earth, and by slaying these Hercules has frustrated 
that wrath. 

188 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

I destroyed, and have brought away Thermodon's 
spoils l of war. The lot of the silent throng have 1 
beheld ; and not alone have I returned, but shuddering 
day hath seen black Cerberus, and he the sun. No 
longer doth the Libyan Antaeus renew his strength ; 
before his own altars hath Busiris fallen ; by my sole 
hand hath Geryon been o'erthrown, and the bull, 
dread terror of a hundred tribes. Whatever hostile 
earth hath 'gendered is fallen, by my right hand 
laid low ; the anger of the gods hath been set at 
naught. 2 

30 If the earth is done with monsters, if my step- 
dame is done with wrath, give back now the father to 
his son, yea, the stars unto the hero. I ask thee not 
to show the way to me ; but grant thy permission, 
father, and the way I'll find. Or, if thou fearest that 
earth shall yet give birth to monsters, let the ill make 
haste, whate'er it be, while yet the earth doth hold 
and look on Hercules ; for who else will attack evil 
things, or who, throughout the Argive cities, will be 
worthy Juno's hate ? I have my honours safe be- 
stowed ; there is no land but sings my praise. The 
race that shivers 'neath the Scythian Bear 3 hath 
known me ; the sun-scorched Indian and the tropic 
African. O glowing Sun, bear witness : I have 
encountered thee where'er thou shinest, nor could 
thy beams keep pace with my triumphant course ; 
I have gone beyond the changes of the sun, and day 
hath halted far within my bounds. Nature hath 
yielded to me, and earth hath failed my feet ; she 
hath been weary first. 4 Night and utter chaos have 

3 i.e. the Scythians, dwelling far north beneath the Bear. 

4 It is as if the whole earth, trying to keep pace with 
Hercules, and to give him new land to travel over, has 
become weary of the attempt. 

189 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

in me incucurrit ; inde ad hunc orbem redi, 

nemo unde retro est. tulimus Oceani minas, 

nee ulla valuit quatere tempestas ratem 50 

quamcumque pressi. pars quota est Perseus mei ? 

iam vacuus aether non potest odio tuae 

sufficere nuptae quasque devincam feras 

tellus timet concipere nee monstra invenit. 

ferae negantur; Hercules monstri loco 

iam coepit esse. quanta enim fregi mala, 

quot scelera nudus ! quidquid irnmane obstitit, 

solae manus stravere ; nee itivenis feras 

timui nee infans. quidquid est iussum leve est, 

nee ulla nobis segnis illuxit dies. 60 

o quanta fudi monstra quae nullus mihi 

rex imperavit ! institit virtus mihi 

lunone peior. 

Sed quid inpavidum genus 
fecisse prodest ? non habent pacem dei ; 
purgata tellus omnis in caelo videt 
quodcumque timuit ; transtulit luno feras. 
ambit peremptus cancer ardentem plagam 
Libyaeque sidus fertur et messes alit ; 
annum fugacem tradit Astraeae leo, 
at ille, iactans fervidam collo iubam, 70 

austrum madentem siccat et nimbos rapit. 
invasit omnis ecce iam caelum fera 
meque antecessit ; victor e terris meos 
specto labores, astra portentis prius 

1 i.e. he is the only unconquered creature left on earth a 
marvel, past the bounds of nature. 

2 On the very day of his birth he killed two huge snakes 
which Juno sent against him. 3 i.e. Eurystheus. 

190 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

assailed me, and thence to this world have 1 come 
asrain whence none e'er returns. I have borne 

o 

Ocean's threats, and no storm of his has availed to 
wreck the ship which I have weighted down. How 
trivial Perseus' deeds compared with mine ! Now 
can the empty air no more suffice the hatred of thy 
wife, and earth fears to produce beasts for me to 
conquer, nor can she find monsters more. Beasts are 
at end ; 'tis Hercules now begins to hold the place 
of monster. 1 For how great evils have I crushed, 
how many crimes, and all unarmed ! Whatever 
monstrous thing opposed me, with but my hands I 
laid it low ; nor was there ever savage thing which 
as youth or babe 2 I feared. All my commanded 
toils seem light, and no inactive day has ever dawned 
for me. Oh, how great monsters have I overthrown, 
which no king 3 bade me meet ! My courage, more 
relentless than Juno's self, has urged me on. 

63 But what avails it to have freed the race of men 
from fear ? Now have the gods no peace ; the freed 
earth sees in the sky all creatures which she feared ; 
for there hath Juno set them. 4 The crab I slew 
goes round the torrid zone, is known as Libya's 
constellation, 6 and matures her grain ; the lion to 
Astraea gives the flying year; 6 but he, his burning 
mane upon his neck back tossing, dries up the 
dripping south-wind and devours the clouds. Behold, 
now has every beast invaded heaven, forestalling me ; 
though victor, I gaze upon my labours from the 
earth ; for to monsters first and to wild beasts has 

4 i.e. she has changed them to constellations in the sky. 

5 The zodiacal constellation of the Crab, in which the sun 
attains his summer solstice. 

6 i.e. the sun passes from Leo into Virgo. For Astrea see 
Index, s.v. 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

ferisque luno tribuit, ut caelum mihi 

faceret timendum. sparserit mundum licet 

caelumque terris peius ac peius Styge 

irata faciat, dabitur Alcidae locus. 

si post feras, post bella, post Stygium canem 

baud dum astra merui, Siculus Hesperium latus 80 

tangat Pelorus, una iam tellus erit ; 

illinc fugabo maria. si iungi iubes, 

committat undas Isthmos, et iuncto salo 

nova ferantur Atticae puppes via. 

mutetur orbis : vallibus currat novis 

Hister novasque Tanais accipiat vias. 

da, da tuendos, luppiter, saltern deos ; 

ilia licebit fulmen a parte auferas, 

ego quam tuebor. sive glacialem polum, 

seu me tueri fervidam partem iubes, 9^ 

hac esse superos parte secures puta. 

Cirrhaea Paean templa et aetheriam domum 

serpente caeso meruit o quotiens iacet 

Python in hydra ! Bacchus et Perseus deis 

iam se intulere ; sed quota est mundi plaga 

oriens subactus aut quota est Gorgon fera ! 

quis astra natus laudibus meruit suis 

ex te et noverca ? quern tuli mundum peto. 

Sed tu, comes laboris Herculei, Licha, 
perfer triumphos, Euryti victos lares 100 

stratumque regnum. vos pecus rapite ocius 

1 i.e. Italian. 

8 The Isthmus of Corinth. 

192 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

Juno given stars, that to me she might make the sky 
a place of dread. Yet, though in her rage she scatter 
them o'er the sky, though she make heaven worse 
than earth, yea, worse than Styx, to Alcides shall 
room be given. If after beasts, after wars, after 
the Stygian dog, I have not yet earned the stars, let 
Sicilian Pelorus touch the Hesperian l shore, and they 
both shall become one land ; thence will I put seas 
to flight. If thou bidst seas be joined, let Isthmus 2 
give passage to the waves and on their united waters 
let Attic ships along a new way be borne. Let 
earth be changed ; along new valleys let Ister run 
and Tanai's receive new channels. Give, give me, 
O Jupiter, at least the gods to guard ; there mayst 
thou put aside thy thunderbolts where I shall be on 
guard. Whether thou bidst me guard the icy pole, 
whether the torrid zone, there count the gods secure. 
Cirrha's shrine 3 and a place in heaven did Pean 4 
earn by one serpent's 5 slaughter oh, how many 
Pythons in the hydra lie o'erthrown ! Already have 
Bacchus and Perseus reached the gods ; but how 
small a tract of earth was the conquered east, 6 or how 
meagre a spoil was Gorgon ! 7 what son of thine and 
of my stepdame has by his praises merited the 
stars ? I seek the skies which I myself have borne. 8 

[He turns to Lie HAS] 

99 But do thou, Lichas, comrade of the toils of 
Hercules, proclaim his triumphs the conquered 
house of Eurytus, his kingdom overthrown. [To the 
other attendants.] Do you with speed drive the 

8 i.e. Delphi. 4 Apollo. 5 The Python. 

6 i.e. India, the scene of Bacchus' conquests. 

7 Slain by Perseus. 

* i.e. when he relieved Atlas of his burden. 

193 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

qua templa tollens acta Cenaei lovis 
austro timendum spectat Euboicum mare. 

CHORVS 

Par ille est superis cui pariter dies 
et fortuna fuit ; mortis habet vices 
lente cum trahitur vita gementibus. 
quisquis sub pedibus fata rapacia 
et puppem posuit fluminis ultimi, 
non captiva dabit bracchia vinculis 
nee pompae veniet nobile ferculum ; 110 

numquam est ille miser cui facile est mori. 
ilium si medio decipiat ratis 
ponto, cum Borean expulit Africus 
aut Eurus Zephyrum, cum mare dividunt, 
non puppis lacerae fragmina conligit, 
ut litus medio speret in aequore ; 
vitam qui poterit reddere protinus, 
solus non poterit naufragium pati. 

Nos turpis macies et lacrimae tenent 
et crinis patrio pulvere sordidus ; 1 20 

nos non flamma rapax, non fragor obruit. 
felices sequeris, mors, miseros fugis. 
stamus, nee patriae l messibus 2 heu locus 
at 3 silvis dabitur, lapsaque sordidae 
fient templa casae ; iam gelidus Dolops 
hac ducet pecudes qua tepet obrutus 
stratae qui superest Oechaliae cinis. 

1 So Richter, with A : patriis E. 

2 messibus N. Heinsius : moenibus A : Leo marks the line 
corrupt, and conjectures stamus nee patria est : messibus h. 1. 

3 Leo et, with . corrected by Scaliger. 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

herds to where the shore, lifting on high the shrine 
of Cenaean Jove, 1 looks out upon the Euboic sea, 
fearsome with southern gales. 

[Exit HERCULES on his way to the Cenaean Promontory, 
intending there to sacrifice to Jove.] 

CHORUS OF CAPTIVE OECHALIAN MAIDENS IN COMPANY 

WITH IOLE 

Mate of the gods is he whose life and fortune 
have gone side by side ; but when 'tis slowly dragged 
out midst lamentations, life has the lot of death. 
Whoe'er has set beneath his feet the greedy fates, 
and the last river's barque, 2 he will not give his captive 
arms to bonds nor fare in the victor's train a noble 
spoil ; ne'er is he wretched for whom to die is easy. 
Should his boat be wrecked far out upon the deep, 
where South with North-wind strives, and East with 
West, rending the sea asunder, he does not gather 
up the wreckage of his broken ship, that in mid- 
ocean he may hope for land ; he who can straightway 
render up his life, he only from a wreck can suffer 
naught. 

119 But us, foul wasting claims, and tears, and hair 
denied by the dust of fatherland ; us nor greedy 
flame nor crashing wall has overwhelmed. The 
happy dost thou pursue, O Death, the wretched thou 
fleest. Here we stand, yet alas ! the spot shall no 
more be given to our country's crops, but to forests 
wild, and squalid hovels shall our fallen shrines 
become. Here soon shall the chill Dolopian lead 
his flocks where the buried ashes, sole remnant of 
Oechalia's ruins, still are warm. Here in our very 

1 So called because his temple stood at Cenaeum, a lofty 
promontory on the north-west point of the island of Euboea. 

2 i.e. he who does not fear death. 

195 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

ipso Thessalicus pastor in oppido 
indocta referens carmina fistula 
cantu nostra canet tempora flebili ; 130 

et dum pauca deus saecula contrahet, 
quaeretur patriae quis fuerit locus, 
felix incolui non steriles focos 
nee ieiuna soli iugera Thessali ; 
ad Trachina vocor, saxa rigentia 
et dumeta iugis horrida torridis, 
vix gratum pecori montivago nemus. 
at si quas melior sors famulas vocat, 
illas aut volucer transferet Inachus 
aut Dircaea colent moenia, qua fluit 140 

Ismenos tenui flumine languidus ; 
hie mater tumidi nupserat Herculis. 142 

Falsa est de geminis fabula noctibus, 1 147 

aether cum tenuit sidera longius 
commisitque vices Lucifer Hespero 
et Solern vetuit Delia tardior. 150 

quae cautes Scythiae, quis genuit lapis? 143 

num Titana ferum te Rhodope tulit, 
te praeruptus Athos, te fera Caspia, 2 
quae virgata tibi praebuit ubera ? 146 

nullis vulneribus pervia membra sunt ; 151 

ferrum sentit hebes, lentior est chalybs ; 
in nudo gladius corpore frangitur 
et saxum resilit, fataque neglegit 
et mortem indomito corpore provocat. 
non ilium poterant figere cuspides, 
non arcus Scythica tensus harundine, 
non quae tela gerit Sarmata frigidus 
aut qui soliferae suppositus plagae 
vicino Nabatae vulnera dirigit l6() 

1 The transposition of II. 147-150 after I. 142 is Leo's. 

2 So Avantius, with a : caseta A : Leo Caspias, with E. 

196 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

city a Thessalian shepherd, on rude pipe going 
o'er his songs, shall sing of our story with doleful 
notes ; and ere God shall bring a few more generations 
to an end, men will be asking where our country lay. 
Once I was blest ; not barren the hearth nor hungry 
the acres of Thessalian soil whereon I dwelt; but now 
to Trachin am I called, to a rough and stony land, to 
brambles bristling on her parched hills, to woods 
which e'en the wandering goats disdain. But if 
some captives by a milder fate are called, then either 
swift Inachus will bear them o'er, 1 or within Dir- 
caean 2 walls shall they abide, where flows slow 
Ismenus with scanty stream, where the mother 3 of 
haughty Hercules once was wed. 4 

147 False is the story 5 of the double night, when 
the stars lingered in the sky o'erlong, when Lucifer 
changed place with Hesperus, and Delia, 6 too slow, 
kept back the sun. What Scythian crag, what rocky 
cliff begot thee ? As some fierce Titan, did Rhodope 
bring thee forth, or Athos rough ? Did some wild 
Caspian beast, some striped tigress give thee suck ? 
By no wounds may his limbs be assailed ; iron he 
feels blunt, steel is too dull ; upon his naked body 
swords are broken, and stones rebound ; and so he 
scorns the fates, and with body all invincible defies 
mortality. Sharp spear-points could not pierce him, 
nor Scythian arrows shot from bended bow, nor darts 
which cold Sarmatians wield, or the Parthians who, 
in the land of the rising sun, with surer aim than 
ever Cretan's was, direct their shafts against the 

1 i.e. either to Argos or Mycenae. 

2 Theban, so called from the neighbouring fountain of 
Dirce. 3 Alcmena. 4 i.e. to Amphit^on. 

6 See Index s.v. " Hercules," first part. The chorus meam 
to say that Hercules is not the son of Jove and Alcmena. 
8 The moon. 

197 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Partbus Cnosiacis certior ictibus. 

muros Oechaliae corpore propulit, 

nil obstare valet ; vincere quod parat 

iam victum est. quota pars vulnere concidit ! 

pro fato patuit vultus iniquior 

et vidisse sat est Herculeas minas. 

quis vastus Briareus, quis tumidus Gyas, 

supra Tbessalicum cum stetit aggerem 

caeloque inseruit vipereas manus, 

boc vultu riguit ? conAinoda cladibus 170 

magnis magna patent : nil superest mali 

iratum miserae vidimus Herculem. 



IOLE 

At ego infelix non templa suis 
conlapsa deis sparsosve focos, 
natis mixtos arsisse patres 
hominique deos, templa sepulchris, 
nullum querimur commune malum; 
alio nostras fortuna vocat 
lacrimas, alias flere ruinas 

me fata iubent. quae prima querar? 180 

quae summa gemam ? pariter cuncta 
deflere iuvat l nee plura dedit 
pectora Tellus, ut digna soiient 
verbera fatis. 

Me vel Sipylum flebile saxura 
fingite, superi, vel in Eridani 
ponite ripis, ubi maesta sonat 
Phaetontiadum silva sororum ; 

1 After iuvat D. Heinsius recognized a lacuna, which Gro- 
nowus thought should bt JiUed as follows: cur non oculos 
plures nobis. 

198 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

neighbouring Arabians. With his bare hands did he 
o'erthrow Oechalia's walls, and naught can make 
stand against him ; for whate'er he plans to over- 
come is overcome already. How few the foes who 
by his wounds have fallen ! His angry countenance 
was death in open view, and but to have seen the 
threats of Hercules is enough. 1 What huge Briareus, 
what Gyas, puffed with pride, when upon Thessalia's 
mountain-heap 2 they stood and clutched at heaven 
with snaky hands, had countenance inflexible as his ? 
But mighty ills have mighty recompense. No more 
is left to suffer we have seen, oh, woe ! the angry 
Hercules. 

IOLE 

But I, unhappy one, bewail not temples fallen on 
their gods, or hearth-fires scattered, or fathers burned 
in mingled heaps with sons, and gods with men, 
temples with tombs, nay, no common misfortune 
do I mourn ; elsewhither doth fortune call my tears, 
for other ruins the fates bid me weep. What lament 
shall I make first ? \Vhat last shall I bewail ? Equally 
all things is it meet to mourn. Oh me, that Mother 
Earth hath not given me more eyes for tears, 3 more 
breasts, that blows worthy of my losses might 
resound. 

185 Me to a weeping rock 4 on Sipylus, ye heavenly 
gods, transform, or set me on the banks of Po, where 
the woods give back the grief of Phaethon's sad 

1 i.e. was enough to kill his opponent. 

2 The giants piled up Ossa, Pelion, and Olympus in their 
effort to reach the skies. 

3 Translating the suggested insertion of Gronovius. 

4 She is thinking of the fate of Niobe. 

199 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

me vel Siculis addite saxis, 

ubi fata gemam Thessala Siren, 190 

vel in Edonas tollite silvas 

qualis natum Daulias ales 

solet Ismaria flere sub umbra ; 

formam lacrimis aptate meis 

resonetque mails aspera Trachin. 

Cyprias lacrimas Myrrha tuetur, 

raptum coniunx Ceyca gemit, 

sibi Tantalis est facta superstes; 

fugit vultus Philomela suos 

natumque sonat flebilis Atthis : 200 

cur mea nondum capiunt volucres 

bracchia plumas ? felix, felix, 

cum silva domus nostra feretur 

patrioque sedens ales in agro 

referam querulo murmure casus 

volucremque lolen fama loquetur 

Vidi, vidi miseranda mei 
fata parentis, cum letifero 
stipite pulsus tota iacuit 

sparsus in aula. 210 

a si tumulum fata dedissent, 
quotiens, genitor, quaerendus eras! 
potuine tuam spectare necem, 
nondum teneras vestite genas 
necdum forti sanguine, Toxeu ? 
quid vestra queror fata, parentes, 
quos in tutum mors aequa tulit ? 
mea me lacrimas fortuna rogat. 
iam iam dominae captiva colus 
fusosque legam. pro saeve decor 

1 i.e. make me one of the number of the Sirens who haunt 
those roc-ks. 

2 i.e. Thracian. 8 Procr^ See Index s.v. 

200 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

sisters ; or add l me to the rocks of Sicily, where as 
a Siren I may weep Thessalia's fate ; or bear me to 
Edonia's 2 woods where I may mourn as, beneath 
Ismarian shade, the Daulian bird 3 ever mourns her 
son. Give me a form to fit my tears, and let rough 
Trachin reecho with my woes. Myrrha, the Cyprian 
maid, yet guards her tears; 4 the wife 5 of Ceyx 
mourns his taking off; and Niobe lives on, surviving 
e'en herself; her human form has Philomel escaped, 
and still the Attic maid bewails her son. 6 Why not 
yet do my arms become swift wings? Happy, ah, 
happy shall I be when the woods shall be called my 
home, and, in my native meadows resting, with 
plaintive strains I shall recall my fate, and fame shall 
tell of winged lole. 

207 I saw, I saw my father's wretched fate, when, 
beaten down by the death-dealing club, he lay in 
scattered fragments throughout the hall. Ah me, if 
fate had given him burial, how often, father, must 
thou have been sought ! How could I have looked 
upon thy death, O Toxeus, 7 with thy boyish cheeks 
as yet unbearded, and thy veins not yet filled with 
manly vigour ? But why do I lament your fates, my 
parents, whom kindly death has to a place of safety 
borne ? Tis my own fortune that requires my tears. 
Soon, soon in captive state shall I whirl the distaff 
and the spindle of my mistress. O cruel beauty, 

4 The exuding gum of the myrrh tree into which the maid 
was changed. 

6 Alcyone, still alive in feathered form. 

6 Itys was not the son of Philomela, but of her sister, 
Procne. 7 Her brother. 

201 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

formaque mortem paritura mihi, 220 

tibi cuncta domus concidit uni, 
dum me genitor negat Alcidae 
atque Herculeus socer esse timet. 
sed iam dominae tecta petantur. 

CHORUS 

Quid regna tui clara parentis 
casusque tuos respicis amens ? 
fugiat vultus fortuna prior, 
felix quisquis novit famulum 
regemque pati vultusque suos 
variare potest. rapuit vires 230 

pondusque malis casus animo 
qui tulit aequo. 

NVTRIX 

O quam cruentus feminas stimulat furor, 
cum patuit una paelici et nuptae domus ! 
Scylla et Charybdis Sicula contorquens freta 
minus timendae, nulla non melior fera est. 
namque ut reluxit paelicis captae decus 
et fulsit lole qualis innubis dies 
purisve clarum noctibus sidus micat, 
stetit furenti similis ac torvum intuens 240 

Herculea coniunx ; feta ut Armenia iacens 
sub rupe tigris hoste conspecto exilit 
aut iussa thyrsum quatere conceptum ferens 
Maenas Lyaeum, dubia quo gressus ferat 
haesit parumper ; turn per Herculeos lares 
attonita fertur, tota vix satis est domus. 
incurrit, errat, sistit, in voltus dolor 
processit omnis, pectori paene intimo 

1 Lyaeus. 
202 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

and form doomed to bring death to me, for thee 
alone is all my house undone, for that my sire refused 
me to Alcides and feared to have Hercules for son- 
in-law. But now must I betake me to a mistress' 
home. 

CHORUS 

Why dost thou, foolish one, ever look back upon 
thy sire's illustrious kingdom and thine own misfor- 
tunes ? Banish from thy face thy former fortune. 
Happy is he whoever knows how to bear the estate 
of slave or king and can match his countenance with 
either lot. For he who bears his ills with even soul 
has robbed misfortune of its strength and heaviness. 

[The scene changes to the space before the palace of 
Hercules and De'ianira at Trachin. Enter NURSE 

OF DEIANIRA.] 

NURSE 

O how bloody is the rage that goads women on, 
when to mistress and to wife one house has opened ! 
Scylla and Charybdis, whirling Sicilia's waves, are 
not more fearful, nor is any wild beast worse. For 
when her captive rival's beauty was revealed, and 
lole shone like the unclouded day or a bright star in 
the clear night glittering, even as one distraught the 
wife of Hercules stood there with lowering gaze (as 
a tigress, lying big with young 'neath some Armenian 
rock, at sight of an enemy leaps forth ; or as a 
maenad, bidden to toss the thyrsus, what time she 
bears the god 1 within her breast, in doubt where she 
shall take her way, stands still a while) ; then through 
the house of Hercules she madly dashed and scarce 
did all the house give space enough. Forward she 
rushes, wanders aimlessly, stands still. All her pas- 
sion has come forth into her face ; in her heart's 

203 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

nihil est relictum ; fletus insequitur minas. 

nee unus habitus durat aut uno furit 250 

contenta voltu ; nunc inardescunt genae, 

pallor ruborem pellit et formas dolor 

errat per omnes ; queritur, implorat, gemit. 

Sonuere postes ecce praecipiti gradu 
secreta mentis ore confuso exerit 



DEIANIRA 

Quamcumque partem sedis aetheriae premis, 
coniunx Tonantis, mitte in Alciden feram 
quae mihi satis sit. si qua fecundum caput 
palude tota vastior serpens movet, 
ignara vinci, si quid excessit feras 260 

immane dirum horribile, quo viso Hercules 
avertat oculos, hoc specu immenso exeat, 
vel si ferae negantur, hanc animam precor 
converte in aliquod quodlibet possum malum 
hac mente fieri, commcda effigiem mihi 
parem dolori ; non capit pectus minas. 
quid excutis telluris extremae sinus 
orbemque versas ? quid rogas Ditem mala ? 
omnes in isto pectore invenies feras 
quas timeat ; odiis accipe hoc telum tuis. 270 

ego sim noverca. perdere Alciden potes ; 
perfer manus quocumque. quid cessas, dea ? 
utere furente quod iubes fieri nefas? 

1 i.e. the Hydra. 
204 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

depths almost naught is left ; tears follow hard on 
threats. Nor does one posture last, nor can one 
countenance contain her rage ; now do her cheeks 
flame with wrath, now pallor drives the flush away, 
and from form to form her smarting anguish wanders ; 
she wails, she begs, she groans. 

254 The doors have sounded behold, at headlong 
pace she comes, with confused words revealing all 
the secrets of her soul. 

\Enter DEIANIRA from within Ike palace.] 



DE'IANIRA 

Wife of the Thunderer, whatever portion of thy 
heavenly home thou treadest, send 'gainst Alcides a 
wild beast which shall suffice for me. If any ser- 
pent, 1 vaster than all the marsh, rears up its head, to 
conquest all unknown ; if anything is worse than 
other beasts, monstrous, dire, horrible, from sight of 
which Hercules would turn away his eyes, let this 
from its huge den come forth. Or, if beasts be 
denied, change, I pray thee, this heart of mine into 
some any evil thing there is can I with this present 
mind become. Give me a form to match my smart- 
ing grief; my breast cannot contain its rage. Why 
dost thou search out the folds of farthest earth, and 
overturn the world ? Why dost ask ills of Dis ? In 
such a breast thou'lt find all beasts to cause him 
dread ; take thou this weapon for thy hate let me 
be step-dame. 2 Thou canst destroy Alcides ; use but 
these hands for any end thou wilt. Why dost thou 
hesitate, O goddess ? Use me, the mad one what 

a She thinks of the possible children of Hercules by lole 
and her chance for vengeance on them, 

205 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

reperi. quid haeres ? ipsa iam cesses licet, 
haec ira satis est. 



NVTRIX 



Pectoris sani pavum, 

alumna, qnestus comprime et flanmias doma ; 
frena dolorem. coniugem ostende Herculis. 



DEIANIRA 

lole meis captiva germanos dabit 
natis lovisque fiet ex fainula nurus ? 
non flamma cursus pariter et torrens feret 280 

et ursa pontum sicca caeruleum bibet 
non ibo inulta. gesseris caelum licet 
totusque pacem debeat mundus tibi, 
est aliquid hydra ])eius : iratae dolor 
nuptae. quis ignis tantus in caelum furit 
ardentis Aetnae ? quidquid est victum tibi 
hie vincet animus, capta praeripiet toros ? 
adhuc timebam monstra, iam nullum est malum ; 
cessere pestes, in locum venit ferae 
invisa paelex. summe pro rector deum 290 

et clare Titan, Herculis tantum fui 
coniunx timentis ; vota quae superis tuli 
cessere captae, paelici felix fui, 
illi meas audistis, o superi, preces, 
incolumis illi remeat. o nulla dolor 
contente poena, quaere supplicia horrida, 
incogitata, infanda, lunonem doce 
quid odia valeant ; nescit irasci satis. 
pro me gerebas bella, propter me vagas 
Achelous undas sanguine infecit suo, 300 

1 See Index . v. "Bears." 
206 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

crime dost bid me do ? Decide. Why dost thou 
falter? Though now thou dost thyself shrink back, 
this rage of mine suffices. 



NURSE 

Dear child, thy mad heart's plaints restrain, quench 
passion's fire and curb thy grief. Show thyself wife 
of Hercules. 

DEIANIRA 

Shall captive lole give brothers to my sons ? Shall 
a slave become daughter-in-law of Jove ? Together 
will flame and torrent never run, and the thirsty 
Bear l from the blue sea ne'er will drink nor will I 
go unavenged. Though thou didst bear the heavens 
up, though the whole world owes its peace to thee, a 
worse pest than Hydra waits thee the wrath of an 
angered wife. What fire as hot as this rages to heaven 
from burning Aetna ? Whate'er has been conquered 
by thy might, this passion of mine shall conquer.- 
And shall a slave seize on my marriage bed ? Till 
now did I fear monsters, but now is no evil more ; 
the pests have vanished and in the place of beasts 
has come the hated harlot. O most high ruler of the 
gods, O lustrous Sun, I have been wife to Hercules 
but in his perils ; the prayers which to the heavenly 
ones I raised have been granted to a slave ; for a 
harlot have I been fortunate ; for her have ye heard 
my prayers, O gods, for her is he safe returned. O 
grief that can be satisfied with no revenge, seek thee 
some dreadful punishment, unthought, unspeakable ; 
teach Juno's self what hate can do ; she knows not 
to rage enough. For me didst thou do battle ; 
on my account did Acheloiis dye his wandering 
waves with his own blond, when now he became a 

207 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

cum lenta serpens fieret, in taurum trucem 
nunc flecteret serpente deposita minas, 
et mille in hoste vinceres uno feras. 
iam displicemus, capta praelata est mihi 
non praeferetur ; qui dies thalami ultimus 
nostri est futurus, hie erit vitae tuae. 

Quid hoc ? recedit animus et ponit minas. 
iam cessat ira ; quid miser langues dolor ? 
perdis furorem, coniugis tacitae fidem 
mihi reddis iterum. quid vetas flammas ali ? 310 
quid frangis ignes ? hunc mihi serva impetum, 
pares eamus l non erit votis opus ; 
aderit noverca quae manus nostras regat 
nee iuvocata. 

NVTRIX 

Quod paras demens scelus ? 
perimes maritum cuius extremus dies 
primusque laudes novit et caelo tenus 
erecta terras fama suppositas habet ? 
Graiorum in istos terra consurget lares 
domusque soceri prima et Aetolum genus 
sternetur omne ; saxa iam dudum ac faces 320 

in te ferentur, vindicem tellus suum 
defendet omnis. una quot poenas dabis ! 
effugere terras crede et humanum genus 
te posse fulmen genitor Alcidae gerit. 
iam iam minaces ire per caelum faces 
specta et tonantem fulmine excusso diem, 
mortem quoque ipsam, quam putas tutam, time ; 

1 So Leo and Richter, following an emendation of Madvig : 
patres erimus E : pares eramus A. 

208 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

stubborn serpent, now to a fierce bull changed his 
threats, the serpent form discarded, and thou in that 
one foe didst conquer a thousand beasts. But now I 
please thee not ; a captive is preferred to me but 
she shall not be preferred ; for that day which shall 
end our marriage joys shall end thy life. 

307 But what is this ? My passion dies away and 
abates its threats. Now anger ceases ; why dost 
thou languish, O wretched grief? Thou givest o'er 
thy madness, makest me again the faithful, uncom- 
plaining wife. Why dost forbid the feeding of the 
flames ? Why checkest the fire ? Keep but this 
passion in me ; hand in hand let us go on there 
will be no need of prayers ; a step-dame * will be 
near to direct my hands and unbcsought. 

NURSE 

What crime, distraught one, dost thou purpose ? 
Wilt slay thy husband whose praises the evening and 
the morning 2 know full well, whose fame, towering 
to the sky, holds all the world beneath ? The land 
of Greece will rise to defend that home, and this thy 
father's 3 house and the whole Aetolian race will be 
the first to be o'erthrown ; soon rocks and firebrands 
will be hurled against thee, since every land will 
rally to its defender. How many penalties wilt thou, 
one woman, pay ! Suppose thou canst escape the 
world and the race of men the father of Alcides 
wields the thunder-bolt. Now, even now behold his 
threat'ning fires flashing athwart the sky, and the 
heavens thundering with the lightning shock. Even 
death itself, which thou deemest a place of safety, 

1 Juno. a i.e. East and West. 

3 Deianira's father, the father-in-law (socer) of Hercules. 

209 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

dominatur illic patruus Alcidae tui. 
quocumque perges, niisera, cognates deos 
illic videbis. 

DEIANIRA 

Maximum fieri scelus 330 

et ipsa fateor, sed dolor fieri iubet. 

NVTRIX 

Moriere. 

DEIANIRA 

Moriar Herculis nempe incluti 
coniunx nee ullus nocte discussa dies 
viduam notabit nee meos paelex toros 
captiva capiet. ante ab occasu dies 
nascetur, Indos ante glacialis polus 
Seythasve tepida Phoebus inficiet rota, 
quam me relictam Thessalae aspiciant nurtis. 
meo iugales sanguine extinguam faces, 
aut pereat aut me perimat ; elisis feris 340 

et coniugeni addat, inter Herculeos licet 
me quoque labores numeret ; Alcidae toros 
moritura certe corpora amplectar meo. 
ire, ire ad umbras Herculis nuptam libet, 
sed non inultam. si quid ex nostro Hercule 
concepit lole, manibus evellam meis 
ante et per ipsas paelicem invadam faces, 
me nuptiali victimam feriat die 
infestus, lolen dum supra exanimem ruam 
felix iacet quicumque quos odit premit. 350 

NVTRIX 

Quid ipsa flammas pascis et vastum foves 
ultro dolorem ? misera, quid cassum times ? 

1 Pluto, the brother of Jove. 2 i.e. lole's. 

210 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

fear ; for there the uncle l of thine Alcides reigns. 
Turn where thou wilt, poor woman, there wilt thou 
see his kindred gods. 

DEIANIRA 

That I am doing a fearful crime, e'en I myself con- 
fess ; but passion bids me do it. 

NURSE 
Thou'lt die. 

DEIANIRA 

Yea, truly, will I die, but the wife of glorious 
Hercules ; neither shall any dawn, banishing night, 
brand me as widow ; nor shall captive creature make 
capture of my bed. Sooner shall day be born in the 
western sky, sooner shall Indians grow pale 'neath 
the icy pole, or Scythians tan 'neath Phoebus' 
burning car, than shall the dames of Thessaly see me 
abandoned. With my own blood will I quench her 2 
marriage torches. Either let him die or do me to 

o 

death. To slaughtered beasts let him add wife as 
well, and let him count me, too, 'mongst the toils of 
Hercules ; to Alcides' couch, aye with my dying body, 
will I cling. Ah, sweet, 'tis sweet to go to the 
shades as bride of Hercules, but not without my 
vengeance. If lole from my Hercules has conceived 
a child, with mine own hands will I tear it forth 
untimely, and by her very wedding torches' glare 
will I face the harlot. Let him in wrath slay me 
as victim on his nuptial day, so I but fall on the 
corpse of lole. Happy he lies who crushes those he 
hates. 

NURSE 

Why dost thyself feed thy flames and wantonly 
foster an unmeasured grief? Poor soul, why dost 
thou cherish a needless fear ? He did love lole ; 

211 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

dilexit lolen ; nempe cum staret parens 
regisque natam peteret. in famulae locum 
regina cecidit ; perdidit vires amor 
multumque ab ilia traxit infelix status, 
illicita amantur, excidit quidquid licet. 

DEIANIRA 

Fortuna amorem peior inflammat magis ; 
amat vel ipsum quod caret patrio lare, 
quod nudus auro crinis et gemma iacet, 360 

ipsas misericors forsan aerumnas amat ; 
hoc usitatum est Herculi, captas amat. 

NVTRIX 

Dilecta Priami nempe Dardanii soror 
concessa famula est ; adice quot nuptas prius, 
quot virgines dilexit. erravit vagus. 
Arcadia nempe virgo, Palladios choros 
dum nectit, Auge, vim stupri passa excidit, 
nullamque amoris Hercules retinet notam. 
referam quid alias ? nempe Thespiades vacant 
brevique in illas arsit Alcides face. 370 

hospes Timoli Lydiam fovit nurum 
et amore captus ad leves sedit col us, 
udum feroci stamen intorquens manu. 
nempe ilia cervix spolia deposuit ferae 
crinemque mitra pressit et famulus stetit, 
hirtam Sabaea marcidus mvrrha comam. 

J 

ubique caluit, sed levi caluit face. 

1 Hesione. 
212 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

but 'twas while yet her father reigned secure, and 
'twas a king's daughter that he sought. The 
princess has now fallen to the place of slave ; love 
has lost its power, and much from her charm her 
unhappy lot has stolen. What is forbidden we love ; 
if granted it falls from our desire. 

DEIAN1RA 

Nay, but fallen fortunes fan hotter the flames of 
love ; for this very cause he loves her, that she hath 
lost her father's house, that her hair lies stripped of 
gold and gems ; out of pity, perchance, he loves her 
very woes; 'tis the wont of Hercules to love captive 
maids. 

NURSE 

Tis true he loved the captive sister 1 of Dardanian 
Priam, but he gave her to another; 2 add all the 
dames, all the maids he loved before. A wanderer 
on earth, a wanderer in love was he. Why, the 
Arcadian maiden, Auge, while leading Pallas' sacred 
dance, suffered his lust's violence, but fell from his 
regard, and Hercules retains no trace of his love for 
her. Why mention others ? The Thespiades are 
forgotten ; for them with but a passing flame Alcides 
burned. When a guest on Timolus, he caressed the 
Lydian woman 3 and, daft with love, sat beside her 
swift distaff, twisting the moistened thread with 
doughty fingers. His shoulders, indeed, had laid 
aside the famous lion's-skin, a turban confined his 
hair, and there he stood like any slave, his shaggy 
locks dripping with Sabaean myrrh. Everywhere has 
he burned with love, but burned with feeble flame. 

a i.e. to Telamon, who assisted him in the capture of Troy. 
8 Omphale, queen of Lydia. 

2J3 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

DEIANIRA 

Haerere amantes post vagos ignes solent. 

NVTRIX 
Famulamne et hostis praeferet natam tibi ? 

DEIANIRA 

Vt laeta 1 silvas forma vernantes habet, 380 

cum nemora nuda primus investit tepor, 
at cum solutos expulit Boreas Notos 
et saeva totas bruma discussit comas, 
deforme solis aspicis truncis nemus ; 
sic nostra longurn forma percurrens iter 
deperdit aliquid semper et fulget minus, 
nee ilia vetus 2 est. quidquid in nobis fuit 
olim petitum cecidit, aut pariter labat. 3 
aetas citato senior eripuit gradu, 4 390 

materque multum rapuit ex illo mihi, 389 

vides ut altum famula non perdat decus ? 391 

cessere cultus penitus et paedor sedet ; 
tamen per ipsas fulget aerumnas decor 
nihilque ab ilia casus et fatum grave 
nisi regna traxit. hie meum pectus timor, 
altrix, lacessit, hie rapit somnos pavor. 
praeclara totis gentibus coniunx eram 
thalamosque nostros invido voto nurus 
optabat omnis ; quaeve mens quicquam deos 
orabat ullos, nuribus Argolicis fui 400 

mensura voti. quern lovi socerum parem, 
altrix, habebo ? quis sub hoc mundo mihi 

1 alta !\r$S., corrected by Madvig. 

9 So liichter : nee ilia Venua E : haec ilia Venus Kiessling, 
followed by Leo. 

214 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

DEIAN1RA 

Oft after wandering fires lovers have clung to one. 

NURSE 

A slave and daughter of his foe shall he prefer to 
thee ? 

DEI'ANIRA 

As a gladsome beauty covers the budding groves 
when the first warmth of spring clothes the bare 
forest trees, but, when the North-wind has put the 
mild South to flight, and savage winter has shaken 
off all the leaves, thou seest but a shapeless grove of 
trunks alone ; so does my beauty, pursuing a length- 
ening way, lose something ever, and less brightly 
gleams, nor is it as of yore. Whate'er in me was 
sought in former days has vanished or is failing along 
with me. Old age with hastening steps hath taken 
much, and much of it hath motherhood stolen from 
me. But seest thou how this slave hath not lost her 
glorious charm ? Gone are her adornings and squalor 
clings close upon her ; and yet through her very dis- 
tresses beauty shines and naught have misfortune and 
this hard stroke of fate stolen from her save her realm. 
O nurse, this fear of her racks my heart ; this dread 
doth destroy my slumbers. I was a wife celebrated 
in every land, and for marriage such as mine all 
women prayed with envious prayer; or whatever 
soul asked aught of any gods, for the prayers of 
Grecian dames I was the measure. What father-in- 
law like to Jove, O Nurse, shall I e'er have ? Who 
beneath these heavens will be given me as husband ? 

3 So Richter : et . . . labat E : et partu labat A : Leo con- 
jectures labor. * Leo deletes this line. 

215 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

dabitur maritus ? ipse qui Alcidae imperat 
facibus suis me iungat Eurystheus licet, 
minus est. toris caruisse regnantis leve est : 
alte ilia cecidit quae viro caret Hercule. 

NVTRIX 

Conciliat animos coniugum partus fere. 

DEIANIRA 
Hie 1 ipse forsan dividet partus toros. 

NVTRIX 
Famula ilia trahitur interim donum tibi. 

DKIANIRA 

Hie quern per urbes ire praeclarum vides 410 

et fulva tergo spolia gestantem ferae, 
qui regna miseris donat et celsis rapit, 
vasta gravatus horridam clava manum, 
cuius triumphos ultimi Seres canunt 
et quisquis alius orbe concepto 2 iacet, 
levis est nee ilium gloriae stimulat decor ; 
errat per orbem, nori ut aequetur lovi 
nee ut per urbes magrius Argolicas eat : 
quod amet requirit, virginum thalamos petit, 
si qua est negata, rapitur ; in populos furit, 420 

nuptas ruinis quaerit et vitium impotens 
virtus vocatur. cecidit Oechalia inclita 
unusque Titan vidit atque unus dies 
stantem et cadentem ; causa bellandi est amor. 

1 So Richter after emendation of N. Heinsius : sic AfSS. 
and Leo. 

a Leo fconcepto, with ~2.A : consepto ^ : Qrotius conjectures 
consumpto : Gronovius conpecto. 

216 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

Though Eurystheus' self, who rules Alcides, should 
wed me with his own torches, 'tis not enough. 'Tis 
a trivial thing to have lost a royal couch ; but from a 
far height has she fallen who loses Hercules. 

NURSE 

Children ofttimes win back the love of husbands. 

DEIANIRA 

These children themselves perchance will dissolve 
the bond. 1 

NURSE 

Meanwhile that slave is brought as gift to thee. 

DEIANIRA 

He whom thou seest going, big with fame, from 
town to town, wearing the spoil of a tawny lion on 
his back ; who gives kingdoms to the lowly and 
takes them from the proud, his dread hand laden 
with a massive club; whose triumphs the far off 
Seres sing, and whoe'er besides dwells in the whole 
known world, he is a trifler, nor does the charm of 
glory urge him on. He goes wandering o'er the 
earth, not in the hope that he may rival Jove, nor 
that he may fare illustrious through Grecian cities. 
Some one to love he seeks ; his quest is maidens' 
chambers. If any is refused him, she is ravished ; 
against nations doth he rage, midst ruins seeks his 
brides, and unrestrained excess is called heroic. 
Oechalia, the illustrious, fell; one sun, one day 
beheld her stand and fall ; and passion was the 

1 i.e. if one woman's child holds her husband to her, 
another's child (lole's) will turn him from the old to his new 
love. 

217 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

totiens timebit Herculi natam parens 

quotiens negabit, hostis est quotiens socer 

fieri recusat ; si gener non fit, ferit. 

post haec quid istas innocens servo manus, 

donee furentem simulet ac saeva manu 

intendat arcus meque natumque opprimat ? 430 

sic coniuges expellit Alcides suas, 

haec sunt repudia. nee potest fieri nocens ; 

terris videri sceleribus causam suis 

fecit novercam. quid stupes, segnis furor ? 

scelus occupandum est; perage dum fervet manus. 

NVTRIX 

Perimes maritum ? 

DE'fANIRA 

Paelicis certe meae 

NVTRIX 

At love creatum. 

DEIANIRA 

Nempe et Alcmena satum. 

NVTRIX 
Ferrone ? 

DEIANIRA 

Ferro. 

NVTRIX 

Si nequis ? 

DEIANIRA 

Perimam dolo. 



218 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

mother of that strife. As oft as a father shall deny 
his child to Hercules, as oft as a foeman refuses to be 
his father-in-law, so oft shall he have cause to fear; 
if he is not accepted as a son in-law, he smites. After 
all this, why do I harmlessly keep back these hands un- 
til he feign another fit of madness, 1 with deadly hand 
bend his bow, and slay me and my son ? 2 Thus does 
Alcides put away his wives ; such is his manner of 
divorce. Yet naught can make him guilty ! He has 
made the world believe his step-dame answerable for 
his crimes. Why art inactive then, thou sluggish rage? 
His crime must be forestalled; act while thy hand 
is hot ! 

NURSE 

Wilt slay thy husband ? 

DEIANIRA 

Truly, my rival's husband. 

NURSE 

But the son of Jove ? 

DEIANIRA 

Yes, but the son of Alcmena, too. 

NURSE 
With the sword ? 

DEIANIRA 

The sword. 

NURSE 

If thou canst not ? 

DEIANIRA 

I'll slay with guile. 

1 The reference is to the death of Megara and her sons at 
the hands of mad Hercules. 2 Hyllus. 

219 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

NVTRIX 

Quis iste furor est ? 

DEIANIRA 

Quern meus coniunx docet. 

NVTRIX 
Quern nee noverca potuit, hunc perimes virum? 440 

DEIANIRA 

Caelestis ira quos premit, miseros facit ; 

humana nullos. 

NVTRIX 

Parce, miseranda, et time. 

DEIANIRA 

Contempsit omnes ille qui mortem prius ; 
libet ire in enses. 

NVTRIX 

Maior admisso tuus, 

alumna, dolor est ; culpa par odium exigat. 
cur saeva modicis statuis ? ut laesa es dole. 

DEIANIRA 

Leve esse credis paelicem nuptae malum ? 
quidquid dolorem pascit, hoc nimium puta. 

NVTRIX 

Amorne clari fugit Alcidae tibi ? 

1 i.e. whatever else. 
220 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

NURSE 

What madness that ? 

DEI AN IRA 

That which my husband teaches me. 

NURSE 

Whom e'en his step-dame could not slay wilt 
thou slay him ? 

DEI AN IRA 

Celestial wrath but makes wretched those on 
whom it falls ; man's wrath makes them naught. 

NURSE 
Spare him, O wretched one, and fear. 

DEIANIRA 

He has scorned all men, who first has scorn of 
death ; 'tis sweet to go against the sword. 

NURSE 

Thy smart is too great for the offence, my child , 
let his fault claim but equal hate. Why dost so 
fiercely judge a light offence ? According as thou 
hast been injured, grieve. 

DEIANIRA 

Thinkst thou a mistress is light evil for a wife ? 
Whatever 1 fosters anguish, count this 2 beyond all 
bounds. 

NURSE 
Has thy love for glorious Alcides fled away ? 

8 i.e. the situation described in the preceding line. 

221 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

DEIANIRA 

Non fugit, altrix, remanet et penitus sedet 450 
fixus medullis, crede ; sed magnus dolor 
iratus amor est. 

NVTRIX 

Artibus magicis fere 

coniugia nuptae precibus admixtis ligant. 
vernare iussi frigore in medio nemus 
missumque fulmen stare ; concuss! freturn 
cessante vento, turbidum explicui mare 
et sicca tellus fontibus patuit novis ; 
habuere motum saxa, discussi fores l 
umbrasque Ditis, 2 et mea iussi prece 
manes locuntur, tacuit infernus canis ; 460 

nox media solem vidit et noctem dies 3 ; 462 

mare terra caelum et Tartarus servit mihi 46 1 

nihilque leges ad meos cantus tenet, 
flectemus ilium, carmina invenient iter. 

DEIANIRA 

Quas Pontus herbas generat aut quas Thessala 
sub rupe Pindus alit 4 ubi inveniam malum 
cui cedat ille ? carmine in terras mago 
descendat astris Luna desertis licet 
et bruma messes videat et cantu fugax 
stet deprehensum fulmen et versa vice 470 

medius coactis ferveat stellis dies : 
non flectet ilium. 

1 fores cu : regarded as corrupt by Leo, who conjectures 
inferos : arbores Birt. 

2 So Rid der : Leo umbrae stetistis, with . 

222 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

DEI'ANIRA 

Not fled, dear Nurse ; it still remains, believe me, 
deep-seated and fixed in my heart's core ; but to be 
angry with one's love brings mighty madness. 

NUHSB 

By magic arts and prayers commingled do wives 
oft hold fast their husbands. I have bidden the 
trees grow green in the midst of winter's frost, 
and the hurtling lightning stand ; I have stirred up 
the deep, though the winds were still, and have 
calmed the heaving sea ; the parched earth has 
opened with fresh fountains ; rocks have found 
mooion ; the gates have I rent asunder and the 
shades of Dis, and at my prayer's demand the spirits 
talk, the infernal dog is still ; midnight has seen the 
sun, and day, the night ; the sea, land, heaven and 
Tartarus yield to my will, and naught holds to law 
against my incantations. Bend him we will ; my 
charms will find the way. 

DEIANIRA 

What herbs does Pontus grow, or what does Pindus 
nourish 'neath the rocks of Thessaly, 1 wherein I may 
find a bane to conquer him ? Though Luna should 
leave the stars and come down to earth, obedient to 
magic ; though winter should see ripe grain ; though 
the swift bolt should stand still, arrested by thy 
charm ; though times be changed, and midday burn 
amid the crowding stars : 'twill not bend him. 

1 Where Medea, the famous witch, gathered magic herbs. 

* Lines 461, 46S transposed by Bothe. 

4 Leo, faluit, with E: corrected by Peiper, followed by 
Richttr. 

223 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

NVTRIX 

Vicit et superos Amor. 

DEIANIRA 

Vincetur uni forsan et spolium dabit 
Amorque summus fiet AJcidae labor. 
sed te per omne caelitum numen precor, 
per hunc timorem : quidquid arcani apparo 
penitus recondas et fide tacita premas. 

NVTRIX 
Quid istud est quod esse secretum petisf 

DEIANIRA 

Non tela sunt, non arma, non ignis minax. 

NVTHIX 

Praestare fateor posse me tacitam fidem, 480 

si scelere careat ; interim scelus est fides. 

DEIANIRA 

Circumspice agedum, ne quis arcana occupet, 
partemque in omnem vultus inquirens eat. 

NVTRIX 
En locus ab omni tutus arbitrio vacat. 

DEIANIRA 

Est in remoto regiae sedis loco 
arcana tacitus nostra defendens specus. 
non ille primos accipit soles locus, 



224 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

NURSE 

But love has conquered e'en heavenly gods. 

DEIAN1RA 

By one 1 alone, perchance, will he be conquered 
and yield his spoils, and Love become Alcides' 
crowning toil. But thee by all the deities of heaven 
I pray, by this my fear : whatever secret thing 1 am 
preparing, hide it deep, and in faithful silence hold 
it fast. 

NURSE 

What is it that thou seekst to keep in secret ? 

DEIANIRA 

It is not spears, not arms, not threatening fire. 

NURSE 

That I can keep faithful silence I confess, if it be 
free from crime ; but silence itself sometimes is 
criminal. 

DEIANIRA 

Come, look about, lest someone grasp my secret, 
and in all directions turn thy questful glance. 

NURSE 

Behold the place is safe and free from all 
observers. 

DEIANIRA 

In a remote corner of the royal dwelling is a 
recess that silently guards my secret. Neither the 
first rays of the sun can reach that spot, nor yet his 

1 Hercules. 

225 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

non ille seros, cum ferens Titan diem l 

lassum rubenti mergit Oceano iugum 2 

illic amoris pignus Herculei latet. 490 

altrix, fatebor : auctor est Nessus mail 

quern gravida Nephele Thessalo genuit duci, 

qua celsus 3 astris inserit Pindus caput 

ultraque nubes Othrys eductus riget. 

namque ut subactus Herculis clava horridi 

Achelous omnes facilis in species dari 

tandem peractis omnibus patuit feris 

unoque turpe subdidit cornu caput, 

me coniugem dum victor Alcides habet, 

repetebat Argos. 

Forte per campos vagus 500 

Euenos altum gurgitem in pontum ferens 
iam paene summis turbidus silvis erat. 
transire Nessus verticem solitus vadis 
pretium poposcit. meque iam dorso ferens 
qua iungit hominem spina deficiens equo, 
frangebat ipsas fluminis tumidi minas. 
iam totus undis Nessus exierat ferox 
medioque adhuc errabat Alcides vado, 
vasto rapacem verticem scindens gradu, 
at ille ut esse vidit Alciden procul : 510 

" tu praeda nobis " inquit " et coniunx eris ; 
prohibetur undis/' meque complexus ferens 
gressum citabat. 

Non tenent undae Herculem : 
"infide vector" inquit " immixti licet 
Ganges et Hister vallibus iunctis eant, 

1 Leo thinks there is a lacuna after line 488 and Jills it thus. 
exurgit undis, cumque germanam vocans. 

2 &o Richter: diem Leo with E. 

3 So A: ftrepidus Leo, with E, conjecturing aethcrius : 
rigidus 0. Itossbach. 

226 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

last, when Titan, bringing the day to rest, plunges 
his weary yoke in the ruddy sea. There lurks the 
surety of Alcides' love. Nurse, I'll confess to thee : 
the giver of the baleful thing was Nessus, whom 
Nephele, heavy with child, to the Thessalian chief- 
tain l bore, where lofty Hindus to the stars lifts up 
his head and Othrys stands stiff', towering above the 
clouds. For when Achelous, forced by the club of 
dread Hercules to shift with ready ease from form to 
form, his beast-shapes all exhausted, at last stood 
forth and bowed his head, marred and with single 
horn,' 2 victorious Hercules, with me, his bride, set out 
for Argos. 

500 It chanced that Evenus, wandering through the 
plains, rolling his deep eddies to the sea, was now 
in flood almost to the tree- tops' level. Nessus, ac- 
customed to ford the whirling stream, offered to 
take me over for a price; and, bearing me on his back, 
where the backbone, leaving the equine enters the 
human form, soon was stemming even the threatening 
waves of the swollen flood. Now had wild Nessus 
entirely left the waters and Alcides was still wander- 
ing in mid-stream, cleaving the down-sweeping flood 
with his mighty strides ; but when the centaur saw 
Alcides still afar, "Thou shalt be spoil of mine," he 
cried, " and wife ; he is kept from thee by the waves "; 
and, clasping me in his arms as he bore me on, was 
galloping away. 

513 But the waves did not hold Hercules ; " O 
faithless ferryman," he cried, "though Ganges and 
Hister commingled in united beds should flow, I 

1 Ixion. 

2 Hercules had wrenched away one horn from Achelous 
while the latter was fighting in bull-form. 

227 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

vincemus ambos, consequar telo fugam." 
praecessit arcus verba ; turn longum ferens 
harundo vulnus tenuit haerentem fugam 
mortemque fixit. ille, iam quaerens diem, 
tabum fluentem 1 volneris dextra excipit 520 

traditque nobis ungulae insertum suae, 
quam forte saeva sciderat avolsam manu 
tune verba moriens addit ; " hoc " inquit " magae 
dixere amorem posse defigi malo ; 
hoc docta Mycale Thessalas docuit minis, 
unam inter omnes Luna quam sequitur magas 
astris relictis. inlitas vestes dabis 
hac " inquit "ipsa tabe, si paelex tuos 
invisa thalamos tulerit et coniunx levis 
aliam parenti dederit altisono nurum. 530 

hoc nulla lux conspiciat, hoc tenebrae tegant 
tantum remotae ; sic potens vires suas 
sanguis tenebit." verba deprendit quies 
mortemque lassis intulit membris sopor. 
Tu, quam meis admittit arcanis fides, 
perge ut nitentem virus in vestem datum 
mentem per artus adeat et taciturn means * 
intret medullas 

NVTRIX 

Ocius iussa exsequar, 

alumna, precibus tu deum invictum advoca, 
qui certa tenera tela dimittit manu. 540 

1 So E : Leo fluente : tabem fluentis A. 

2 So Ricldzr tactus sinus A : tacitua mas E Leo tactu 
sinus. 

228 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

shall o'ercome them both and with my shaft o'ertake 
thy flight." His bow was swifter than his words. 
Then the reedy shaft, wounding from afar, stayed 
his hampered flight and implanted death. The 
Centaur, now groping for light, in his right hand 
caught the poison l flowing from the wound, and this 
he gave me, pouring it into his hoof, which with 
mad hand he had chanced to wrench away. Then 
with his dying words he spoke : " By this charm 
magicians have said love can be firmly fixed ; so were 

c5 * 

Thessalian wives by the wise Mycale instructed, 
whom only, midst all wonder-working crones, Luna 
will forsake the stars and follow. A garment, 
smeared with this very gore, shalt thou give to him, 
if ever a hated mistress should usurp thy chamber, 
and thy fickle husband should give another daughter 
to his 'high-thundering sire. This let no light be- 
hold ; let darkness only, thick and hidden, cover it ; 
so shall the potent blood retain its powers." Silence 
seized on his words and to his weary limbs came the 
sleep of death. 

535 Now do thou, whom loyalty makes sharer of 
my secret, haste thee that the poison, upon a 
glittering robe besmeared, go through his heart 
and limbs and, stealing silently, enter his very 
marrow. 

NURSE 

With speed will I do thy bidding, dearest child ; 
and do thou pray to the god 2 invincible, who with 
tender hand doth send unerring shafts. [Exit NURSE. 

1 Communicated to the blood by the Hydra-poisoned arrow 
of Hercules. 

2 Cupid. 

229 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

DElANIRA 

Te deprecor, quern inundus et superi timent 
et aequor et qui fulmen Aetnaeum quatit, 
timende matri te aliger saevae puer : 
intende certa spiculum velox manu, 
non ex sagittis levibus. e numero precor 
graviore prome quod tuae nondum manus 
misere in aliquern ; non levi telo est opus, 
ut amare possit Hercules, rigidas manus 
intende et arcinn cornibus iunctis para, 
nunc, nunc sagittam prome qua quondam hor- 

ridum 550 

lovem petisti, fulmine abiecto deus 
cum fronte subita tumuit et rabidum mare 
taurus puellae vector Assyriae scidit ; 
immitte amorem, vincat exempla omnia 
amare discat coniugem. si quas decor 
loles inussit pectori Herculeo faces, 
extingue totas, perbibat formam mei. 
tu fulminantem saepe domuisti lovem, 
tu furva nigri sceptra gestantem poll, 
turbae ducem maioris et dominum Stygis ; 560 

tuque o noverca gravior irata deus, 
cape hunc triumph urn solus et vince Herculem. 

NVTRIX 

Prolata vis est quaeque Palladia colu 
lassavit omnem texta famularum manum. 
nunc congeratur virus et vestis bibat 

1 The bolts of Jove were forged in Vulcan's smithy under 
Aetna. 2 Europa. 

230 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

DEI A NIK A 

Thee do I pray, by earth and heaven-dwellers held 
in fear, by sea, by him who wields Aetnaean l thunder- 
bolts, and by thy ruthless mother to be feared, O 
winged boy ; with unerring hand aim a swift shaft, 
and not of thy lighter arrows. Choose thee, I pray, 
one of thy heavier shafts, which thy hands have 
ne'er yet shot at any; for no light weapon must thou 
use that Hercules may feel the power of love. 
Stretch thy hands stiffly forth, and bend thy bow 
until the tips shall meet. Now, now that shaft let 
loose with which once thou aimedst at Jove the 
terrible, what time the god threw down his thunder- 
bolt and as a bull, with horns quick-sprouting on his 
brow, clove through the boisterous sea, bearing the 
Assyrian maid. 2 Fill him with love ; let him outstrip 
all precedents, let him learn to love his wife. If 
lole's beauty hath kindled fires in the breast of 
Hercules, extinguish them every one, and of my 
beauty let him deeply drink. Oft hast thou con- 
quered Jove, the thunderer, oft him who wields the 
dark sceptre of the dusky world, king of the greater 
throng, and lord of Styx ; and now, O god more 
dreadful than a step-dame's wrath, win thou this 
triumph all alone, and conquer Hercules. 

\Re-enter NURSE, with robe and charm.~\ 

NURSE 

The charm has been brought out and a robe from 
Pallas' s distaff, at whose weaving thy maidens all 
have wrought with weary hands. Now let the 
poison be prepared and let the robe of Hercules 

3 The arts of spinning and weaving were of Pallas' in- 
vention. 

231 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 
Herculea pestem ; precibus augebo malum. 

In tenipore ipso navus occurrit Lichas ; 
celanda vis est (lira, ne pateant doli. 

DEIANIRA 

O quod superbae non habent umquam domus, 
fidele semper regibus nomen Licha, 570 

cape hos amictus, nostra quos nevit manus, 
dum vagus in orbe fertur et victus mero 
tenet feroci Lydiam gremio nurum, 
dum poscit lolen. sed iecur fors horridum 
flectam merendo ; merita vicerunt malos. 
non ante coniunx induat vestes iube 
quam ture flammas pascat et placet deos, 
cana rigentem populo cinctus comam. 

Ipsa in penates regios gressus feram 
precibusque Amoris horridi matrem colam. 580 

vos, quas paternis extuli comites focis, 
Calydoniae, lugete deflendam vicem. 

CHORVS 
Flemus casus, Oenei, tuos 

comitum primes turba per annos, 
232 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

soak up its pestilence ; and by my incantations 
will I increase its evil. 

[While they are occupying themselves with the robe, 
LICHAS is seen approaching.] 

667 But in the nick of time the zealous Lichas 
comes; the dire potency of the robe must be con- 
cealed lest our wiles be punished. 

[Enter LICHAS.] 

DEIANIRA 

O Lichas, name ever loyal to thy lords, though 
loyalty proud houses ne'er possess, take thou this 
garment which my hands have woven while he was 
wandering o'er the earth, or, spent with wine, was 
holding in his doughty arms the Lydian queen, or 
seeking lole. And yet, perchance, I may turn his 
rough heart to me again by my deserving ; for 
deserts oft conquer those who work us ill. Before 
my husband puts this garment on, bid him burn in- 
cense and appease the gods, his stiff locks wreathed 
the while with hoary poplar. 

[LICHAS lakes the robe and departs upon his mission.] 
679 I will myself pass within the royal palace and 
with prayers worship the mother of relentless Love. 

[To her Aetolian attendants.] 

Do ye, whom I have brought as comrades from my 
father's house, ye Calydonian maids, bewail the for- 
tune that demands your tears. [Exit. 

CHORUS OF AETOLIAN WOMEN 

O child of Oeneus, truly do we weep for thy 
misfortunes, the band of thy companions through 
thy childhood years, we weep thy couch dishonoured, 

233 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

flemus dubios, veneranda, toros. 

nos Acheloi tecum solitae 

pulsare vadum, cum iam tumidas 

vere peracto poneret undas 

gracilisque gradu serperet aequo, 

nee praecipitem volveret amnem 

flavus rupto fonte Lycormas ; 

nos Palladias ire per aras 

et virgin eos celebrare chores, 

nos Cadmeis orgia ferre 

tecum solitae condita cistis, 

cum iam pulso sidere brumae 

tertia soles evocat aestas 

et spiciferae concessa deae 

Attica mystas cludit Eleusin. 

nunc quoque casum quemcumque times, 600 

fidas comites accipe fatis ; 

nam rara fides ubi iam melior 

fortuna ruit. 

Tu quicumque es qui sceptra tenes, 
licet omne tua vulgus in aula 
centum pariter limina pulset ; 
cum tot populis stipatus eas, 
in tot populis vix una fides, 
tenet auratum limen Erinys, 
et cum magnae patuere fores, 610 

intrant fraudes cautique doli 
ferrumque latens ; cumque in populos 
prodire paras, comes invidia est. 

1 Identified by Strabo with the Evenus, a neighbouring 
river of Aetolia. 

2 The sacred objects used in the orgiastic worship of 
Bacchus. 

8 Called in the text Cadmaean from Cadmus, founder of 
Thebes. 

234 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

lady whom we revere. Often with thee have we 
splashed in Acheloiis' shallows, when now, the 
springtime passed, he allayed his swollen waters 
and, a slender stream, crept on with quiet course, 
and Lycormas 1 no longer rolled his headlong waters 
on, dark-hued with bursting fountains. Together 
were we wont to fare to Pallas' shrines and join in 
virgin dances, to bear the mysteries 2 in Theban 3 
baskets hidden, when now the wintry star had fled, 
and each third summer 4 called forth the sun, and 
when the grain-giving goddess' 5 sacred seat, Attic 
Eleusis, shut in her mystic worshippers. Now too, 
whatever lot thou fearest, take us as trusted comrades 
of thy fates ; for rare is loyalty when now better 
fortune fails. 

604 O thou, 6 whoe'er thou art who the sceptre 
holdest, though all the people throng within thy hall, 
pressing together through its thousand doors ; 
though when thou walkst abroad whole nations hem 
thee round ; in all those nations scarce one man is 
true. Erinys keeps the gilded gate, and when the 
great doors have opened wide, there come in 
treacheries and cunning wiles and the lurking 
dagger ; and when amongst the people thou wouldst 
walk, envy walks by thy side. As often as dawn 

4 The festival of Bacchus was celebrated every third year 
in honour of his conquest of India. 

8 Ceres. The reference is to the Eleusinian mysteries. 
All these festivals these women had been wont to attend 
together in childhood. 

' Addressed to kings in general 

235 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

noctem quotiens summovet Eos, 

regem totiens credite nasci. 

pauci reges, non regna colunt ; 

plures fulgor concitat aulae. 

cupit hie regi proximus ipsi 

clarus latas ire per urbes ; 

urit niiserum gloria pectus. 620 

cupit hie gazis implere famem ; 

nee tamen omnis plaga gemmiferi 

sufficit Histri nee tola sitim 

Lydia vincit nee quae Zephyro 

subdita tellus stupet aurato 

flumine clarum radiare Tagum ; 

nee si totus serviat Hebrus 

ruraque dives iungat Hydaspes 

intraque suos currere fines 

spectet toto flumine Gangen. 630 

avidis, avidis natura parum est. 

Colit hie reges regumque lares, 
non ut presso vomere semper 
numquam cesset curvus arator 
vel mille secent arva coloni ; 
solas optat quas ponat opes, 
colit hie reges, calcet ut omnes 
perdatque aliquos nullumque levet ; 
tantum ut noceat, cupit esse potens. 

Quota pars moritur tempore fati 1 640 

quos felices Cynthia vidit, 
vidit miseros enata dies, 
rarum est felix idemque senex. 
caespes Tyrio mollior ostro 
solet inpavidos ducere somnos ; 

1 i.e. so many dangers to the king's life lurk in the night 
that if he survives these it is as if he were born anew iu the 
morning. 

236 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

drives out the night, so often believe a king is born. 1 
Few worship kings and not their thrones ; for 'tis the 
glitter of the royal hall that stirs the most. One 
man is eager to fare illustrious through broad towns 
next to the king himself; for greed of glory burns 
his wretched breast. Another longs with treasure 
to appease his hunger ; and yet not all gem-bearing 
Eiister's tract would satisfy, nor would the whole of 
Lydia sate his thirst, nor the land 2 which, lying 
'neath the west-wind, marvels to see bright Tagus 
gleam with golden water ; nor if all Hebrus were 
his own, and rich Hydaspes should be added to his 
fields, and he should gaze on Ganges flowing with all 
its stream within his boundaries. For greed, for 
greed all nature is too little. 

632 One man courts kings and homes of kings, not 
that his ploughman, forever stooping o'er the deep- 
driven share, may never cease his toil, or that the 
peasantry may till his thousand fields ; but wealth 
alone, which he may hoard away, he seeks. Another 
man courts kings that he may trample all, may ruin 
many and establish none ; he covets power only to 
harm therewith. 

640 How few live out their allotted span ! Whom 
Cynthia z saw in happiness, the new-born day sees 
wretched. 'Tis rare to find old age and happiness 
in one. The couch of turf, softer than Tynan 
purple, oft soothes to fearless slumber; but gilded 



2 Spain. 

8 i.e. the moon of the previous night. 



237 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

aurea rumpunt tecta quietem 

vigilesque trahit purpura rioctes 

o si pateant pectora ditum ! 

quantos intus sublimis agit 

fortuna metus ! Bruttia Coro 650 

pulsante fretum lenior unda est. 

pectora pauper secura gerit ; 

tenet e patula pocula fago, 

sed non trepida tenet ilia manu ; 

carpit faciles vilesque cibos, 

sed non strictos respicit enses. 

aurea miscet pocula sanguis. 

Coniunx modico nupta marito 
non disposito clara moriili 

gestat pelagi dona rubentis, 660 

nee gemmiferas detrahit aures 
lapis Eoa lectus in unda, 
nee Sidonio mollis aeno 
repetita bibit lana rubores, 
nee Maeonia distinguit acu 
quae Phoebeis subditus euris 
legit Eois Ser arboribus. 
quaelibet herbae tinxere colus 
quas indoctae nevere manus ; 
sed non dubios fovet ilia toros. 670 

sequitur dira lampade Erinys 
quarum populi coluere diem ; 
nee sibi felix pauper habetur 
nisi felices cecidisse videt. 

Quisquis medium defugit iter 
stabili numquam tramite currit. 
dum petit unum praebere diem 

1 The north-west wind. 

a The reference is to the story of the sword of Damocles. 
See Index, 

238 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

ceilings break our rest, and purple coverlets drag out 
wakeful nights. Oh, if the hearts of rich men 
were laid bare ! What fears does lofty fortune stir 
within! The waves of Bruttium, when Corus l 
lashes up the sea, are calmer far. The poor man's 
heart is free from care ; he holds cups carved from 
the wide-spreading beech, but holds them with hand 
untrembling ; he eats but cheap and common food,, 
yet sees no drawn sword 2 hanging o'er his head ! 
'Tis in golden cups that blood is mixed with wine. 3 

658 The wife who is wed to one of modest means 
is not bedecked with necklaces of pearl, the red sea's 
gift, nor do stones gathered on Orient shores weigh 
down her gem-laden ears ; for her no soft wool twice 
dipped in Sidonian cauldrons drinks scarlet dyes ; 
not hers with Maeonian 4 needle to embroider stuffs 
which Serians under sunlit skies gather 5 from eastern 
trees. 'Tis but common herbs that dye the webs 
which her unskilled hands have woven ; but she 
cherishes a marriage-couch all undisturbed. With 
cruel torch doth Fury pursue the bride whose wed- 
ding-day great throngs have celebrated ; nor does the 
poor man count himself full blest, unless he sees the 
blessed fallen from their height. 

675 Whoever has left the middle course fares never 
in path secure. While for one day the youth 6 sought 

3 The author may have the story of Atreus and Thyestes 
in mind. 

4 The Lvdian (Maeonian) women were famous for their 
skill in embroidery. 

6 The reference is to silk -culture, for which the Seres (the 
Chinese) were well known among the ancients. 
8 Phaethon. 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

patrioque puer constitit axe 

nee per solitum decurrit iter, 

sed Phoebeis ignota petens 680 

sidera fiammis errante rota, 

secum pariter perdidit orbem. 

medium caeli dum sulcat iter, 

tenuit placitas Daedalus oras 

nullique dedit nomina ponto ; 

sed dum volucres vincere veras 

Icarus audet patriasque puer 

despicit alas Phoeboque volat 

proxumus ipsi, dedit ignoto 

nomina ponto. male pensantur 690 

magna ruinis. 

Felix alius magnusque sonet ; 
me nulla vocet turba potentem. 
stringat tenuis litora puppis 
nee magna meas aura phaselos 
iubeat medium scindere pontum ; 
transit tutos Fortuna sinus 
medioque rates quaerit in alto, 
quarum feriunt si para nubes. 

Sed quid pavido territa vultu, 700 

qualis Baccho saucia maenas, 
fertur dubio 1 regina gradu ? 
quae te rursus fortuna rotat? 
miseranda, refer : licet i])sa neges, 
vultus loquitur quodcumque tegis. 

DEIANIRA 

Vagus per artus errat excussos tremor, 
erectus horret crinis, impulsis adhuc 

1 So Gronovins : ]mc(V\o Leo, with K : rap i do A. trepido 
Paphtliug: fert in medium . . . gradum Rickltr. 

240 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

to furnish light and took his stand within his father's 
car, and while he passed not o'er the accustomed 
track, but sought the stars unknown to Phoebus' rays 
with wandering wheel, himself he ruined and the 
world, as well. Daedalus, cleaving his path midway 
the heavens, reached peaceful shores and to no sea 
gave his name; but while young Icarus dared rival 
true birds in flight, looked down upon his father's 
wings and soared aloft close to the sun itself, to an un- 
known sea l he gave his name. To our undoing, 
high fortunes are by ruin balanced. 

692 Let another be noised abroad as blest and great ; 
but let no throng hail me as powerful. Let my frail 
craft keep close to shore, and let no strong wind 
compel my bark to plough the mighty deep ; mis- 
fortune passes by quiet ports, and seeks for ships 
sailing the open sea, whose topsails smite the clouds- 

[DEIANIRA appears hurrying distractedly from the palace.] 

700 But why in terror and with face of fear, like 
some rage-smit Bacchante, comes the queen with 
step uncertain ? 

[Enter DEIANIRA] 

What new reverse of fortune whirls thee about ? 
Poor lady, tell us. Though thou thyself sayst naught, 
thy face speaks out whate'er thou hidest. 

DEIANIRA 

Vague shivers steal through my trembling limbs, 
my hair starts up in horror ; fear sticks in my soul 

1 The Icariaa sea. 

241 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

stat terror animis et cor attonitum salit 

pavidumque trepidis pal pi tat venis iecur. 

ut fractus austro pontus etiamnum tumet, 710 

quamvis quiescat languidis ventis dies, 

ita mens adhuc vexatur excusso metu. 

semel profecto premere felices deus 

cum coepit, urget. hos habent magna exitus. 

NVTRIX 
Quis tarn impotens, miseranda, te casus rotat ? 

DEIANIRA 

Vt missa palla est tabe Nessea inlita 
thalamisque maerens intuli gressum meis, 
nescio quid animus timuit 1 et fraudem struit? 
libet experiri. solibus dirus ferum 
flammisque Nessus sanguinem ostcndi arcuit ; 720 
hie ipse fraudes esse praemonuit dolus. 

Et forte, nulla nube respersus iubar, 
laxabat ardens fervidum Titan diem. 
vix ora solvi patitur etiam nunc timor. 
medios in ignes solis eiceram facem 2 
quo tincta fuerat palla vestisque inlita. 
abiectus horret sanguis et Phoebi coma 3 
tepefactus ardet vix queo monstrum eloqui. 4 
nives ut Eurus solvit aut tepidus Notus, 
quas vere primo lucidus perdit Mimas, 730 

1 Leo conjectures a lacuna here and suggests an moriens 
viro I poenas parat Centaurus : Richter reads timuit. an 
fraudem struit? 

2 f eiceram facem Leo, with E, conjecturing medios in ignes 
vellus eieci madens : solis et claram facem A. 

242 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

till now so passion-tossed ; my heart leaps wildly 
and my quaking liver throbs with pulsing veins. As 
when the storm-tossed sea still heaves, though the 
skies are clear and the winds have died away, so is 
my soul still troubled, though my fear has been 
allayed. Surely when God has once begun to oppress 
the fortunate, he bears down hard. To such an end 
do mighty fortunes come. 

NURSE 

What headstrong fate, poor soul, whirls thee 
about ? 

DEIANIRA 

When I had sent away the robe anointed with 
Nessus' blood, and, sad at heart, betook me to my 
chamber, my soul feared I know not what did the 
dying centaur 'gainst my husband plan revenge, 1 and 
plot some treachery ? I was pleased to make the test. 
Dread Nessus forbade me to expose the wild blood 
to the sun's rays and to fire ; and this artifice itself 
forewarned me of treachery. 

722 It chanced the burning sun, its radiance by no 
cloud dimmed, was setting free the day's fervid 
heat. Even now my fear scarce suffers me to speak. 
Right into the hot sunlight I had thrown the blood- 
soaked fleece 1 with which the robe had been 
moistened and the garment smeared. The bloody 
fleece I flung writhed horribly and, warmed with the 
sun's rays, burst aflame I have scarce words to 
tell of the awful thing. As the East or the warm 
South-wind melts the snows which glistening Mimas 
1 Translating Leo's conjecture. 

3 So 5- ; Leo fcomam. 

* o A : Leo fastris vix quoque est. m. elocor. 

243 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 
utque evolutos frangit lonio salo 
opposita fluctus Leucas et lassus tumor 
in litore ipso spumat, aut caelestibus 
aspersa tepidis tura laxantur focis, 
sic languet omne vellus et perdit comas, 
dumque ista miror, causa mirandi perit ; 
quin ipsa tell us spumeos motus agit 
et quidquid ilia tabe contactum est labat. 1 

Natum paventem cerno et ardenti pede 740 

gressus ferentem. prome quid portes novi. 2 

HYLLVS 

!_, profuge, quaere si quid ulterius patet 
terris freto sideribus Oceano inferis, 
ultra labores, mater, Alcidae fuge ! 

DEI AN IRA 

Nescio quod animus grande praesagit malum. 

HYLLVS 

Regnat, triumphat 3 ; templa lunonis pete, 
haec tibi patent ; delubra praeclusa omnia. 

DEIANIRA 

Effare quis me casus insontem premat. 

1 Following line 738 in A stands (he unintelligible line 
tumensque tacita sequitur et (juassat caput. 

a Leo deletes lines 740, 741, assuming a considerable lacuna 
between 738 and 742. 

244 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

loses in early spring ; as 'gainst Leucadia's crags, 
breasting the Ionian sea, the up-flung waves are 
broken and with spent fury foam upon the shore, or 
as incense sprinkled on holy shrines is melted in the 
hot altar-fires ; so all the wool withered and lost its 
fleece. And while I stood wondering at it, the 
object of my wonder disappears ; nay, even the very 
ground begins to foam, and whatever that poison 
touched begins to shrink. 

[HVLLUS is seen approaching] 

740 But I see my son approaching with face of fear 
and hurrying feet. 

\To HYLLUS] 

Speak out what tidings dost thou bear ? 

HYLLUS [hurrying upon the scene] 

Go ! flee ! seek out whatever place lies far away 
on land, on sea, 'mongst stars, in Ocean, under- 
world far beyond the labours of Alcides, mother, 
flee! 

DEIANIRA 

Some great disaster doth my mind presage. 

HYLLUS 

She l reigns, she triumphs ; Juno's temple seek. 
This sanctuary waits thee ; closed is all refuge else. 

DEIANIRA 

Tell what disaster my guiltless self o'erwhelms. 

1 i.e. Juno. 

3 Leo's conjecture for regna triumphi of MSS. 

245 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

HYLLVS 

Decus illud orbis atque praesidium unicum, 
quern fata terris in locum dederant lovis, 750 

o mater, abiit. membra et Herculeos toros 
urit lues nescio qua ; qui domuit feras, 
ille ille victor vincitur maeret dolet. 
quid quaeris ultra? 

DEIAMRA 

Miserias properant suas 
audire miseri. fare, quo posita in statu 
iam nostra domus est ? o lares, miseri lares 1 
nunc vidua, nunc expulsa, nunc ferar obruta, 

HYLLVS 

Non sola maeres Herculem, toto iacet 
mundo gemendus. fata nee, mater, tua 
privata credas : iam genus totum obstrepit. 760 

hunc ecce luctu quern gemis cuncti gemunt, 
commune terris omnibus pateris malum. 
luctum occupasti : prima, non sola Herculem, 
miseranda, maeres. 

DEIANIRA 

Quam prope a leto tamen 
ede, ede quaeso iaceat Alcides meus. 

HYLLVS 

Mors refugit ilium victa quae in regno suo 
semel est nee audent fata tarn vastum nefas 
admittere. ipsas forsitan trepida colus 
Clotho manu proiecit et fata Herculis 



246 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

HYLLUS 

That glory and sole guardian of the world, whom 
the fates had given to the lands in the place of Jove, 

mother, is no more. The limbs and thews of 
Hercules a mysterious plague is wasting; and he 
who conquered monsters, he, he, the victor, is van- 
quished, is in grief, in agony. What more dost ask ? 

DEIANIRA 

The wretched are in haste to hear their wretched- 
ness. Tell me : in what condition now stands our 
house ? O home, O wretched home I Now truly am 

1 widowed, exiled, overwhelmed. 

HYLLUS 

Not thou alone dost lament Hercules ; low he 
lies for the whole world to mourn. And think not, 
mother, thine is a private loss ; now the whole 
race is clamorous with woe. Lo, all men utter thy 
self-same groans of grief; common to all lands is the 
ill thou sufferest. Thou hast forestalled their grief; 
first, but not all alone, poor soul, dost thou mourn 
Hercules. 

DEIANIRA 

Yet tell me, tell, I beg, how near to death does 
my Alcides lie. 

HYLLUS 

Death, who once in his own realm was overcome, 1 
flees from him ; nor do the fates dare countenance 
so great a crime. Perchance Clotho has thrown 
aside her very distaff from her trembling hand, and 

1 A probable reference to the struggle of Hercules with 
Death for the recovery of Alcestis. 

247 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

timet peragere. pro diem, infandum diem ! 770 

hocne ille summo magnus Alcides erit ? 

DEIANIRA 

Ad fata et umbras adque peiorem polum 
praecedere ilium dicis ? an possum prior 
mortem occupare ? fare, si nondum occidit. 

HYLLVS 

Euboica tell us vertice immense tumens 
pulsatur omni latere. Phrixeum mare 
scindit Caphereus, servit hoc Austro latus ; 
at qua nivosi patitur Aquilonis minas, 
Euripus undas flectit instabilis vagas 
septemque cursus volvit et totidem refert, 780 

dum lassa Titan mergat Oceano iuga. 
hie rupe celsa, multa quam nubes ferit, 
annosa fulgent templa Cenaei lovis. 

Ut stetit ad aras omne votivum pecus 
totumque tauris gemuit auratis nemus, 
spolium leonis sordidum tabo exuit 
posuitque clavae pondus et pharetra graves 
laxavit umeros. veste turn fulgens tua, 
cana revinctus populo horrentem comam, 
succendit aras ; " accipe has " inquit " focis 790 

non false messes genitor et largo sacer 
splendescat ignis ture, quod Phoebum colens 
dives Sabaeis colligit truncis Arabs, 
pacata tellus " inquit " et caelum et freta, 

1 i.e. the Aegaean. See Index s.v. "Phrixus." 

2 Seneca's description in this passage of the topography of 
Euboea is not correct. The Cenaean Promontory is at the 
far north-western point of the island, while the Strait of 

248 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

is afraid to complete the fates of Hercules. O day, 
O awful day ! And shall this for the great Alcides 
be the last ? 

DEIANIRA 

To the shades of death and to that darker world 
dost say he has gone already? Can I not go before 
and anticipate his death ? Speak, if he is not yet 
fallen. 

HYLLUS 

Euboea's shore, swelling with mighty headland, 
on every side is beaten by the waves. Caphereus 
cleaves the Phrixean 1 Sea, on this side the south- 
wind blows ; but on the side which feels the 
blasts of snowy Aquilo, restless Euripus turns his 
wandering waves, whose currents seven times flow 
and seven times ebb again, till Titan plunges his 
weary horses in the sea. Here on a lofty cliff, by 
many a storm-cloud beaten, an ancient temple of 
Cenaean Jove stands gleaming. 2 

78J When all the votive herd stood at the altars, 
and the whole grove was filled with the bellowing 
of the gilded bulls, he 3 put off his lion's skin, all 
stained with gore, laid down his heavy club and 
freed his shoulders of the quiver's weight. Then 
radiant in thy robe, his rough hair wreathed with 
hoary poplar, he lit the altar-fires. "Accept these 
gifts," he said, " upon thy shrine, O father, not 
falsely claimed, and let thy sacred fire blaze brightly 
with copious incense which the rich Arab gathers 
from Sabaean trees, in worship of the Sun. Peace 
has been given to earth, to sky, to sea ; all monsters 

Euripu8 is very nearly off the middle point. Caphereus, 
moreover, is exposed not to the south but almost directly to 
the east wind. 8 i.e. Hercules. 

249 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

feris subactis omnibus victor redi. 
depone fulmen." 

Gemitus in medias preces 
stupente et ipso cecidit ; hinc caelum horrido 
clamore complet. qualis impressa fugax 
taurus bipenni volnus et telum ferens 
delubra vasto trepida mugitu replet, 800 

aut quale mundo fulmen emissum tonat, 
sic ille gemitu sidera et pontum ferit, 
et vasta Chalcis sonuit et voces Cyclas 
excepit omnis ; hinc petrae Capherides, 
hinc omne voces reddit Herculeas nemus. 
flentem videmus. volgus antiquam putat 
rabiem redisse ; turn fugam famuli petimt. 

At ille voltus ignea torquens face 
unum inter omnes sequitur et quaerit Lichan. 
complexus aras ille tremibunda manu 810 

mortem metu consumpsit et parvum sui 
poenae reliquit. dumque 1 tremibundum manu 
tenuit cadaver : " hac manu, hac " inquit " ferar, 
o fata, victus ? Herculem vicit Lichas? 
ecce alia clades : Hercules perimit Lichan. 
facta inquinentur ; fiat hie summus labor." 
in astra missus fertur et nubes vago 
spargit cruore. talis in caelum exilit 
harundo Getica visa dimitti manu 
aut quam Cydon excussit : inferius tamen 820 

et tela fugient. truncus in pontum cadit, 
in saxa vertex ; unus ambobus iacet. 

1 Leo conjectures semianiraum pareua. 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

have I subdued and in triumph come again. Lay 
down thy thunderbolt." 

736 As he thus prayed a groan fell from his lips, 
even he standing aghast ; then with dreadful cries 
he filled the air. As when a bull, fleeing the deep- 
driven axe, bearing both wound and weapon, fills 
with his huge bellowings the affrighted shrine, or as 
the launched thunder crashes in the sky ; so did he 
with his roarings smite the stars and sea ; towering 
Chalcis reechoed and all the Cyclades heard his 
cries ; then all Caphereus' crags and the whole 
forest resounded with the cries of Hercules. We 
saw him weep. The commons thought his ancient 
madness had returned ; then his attendants fled. 

808 But he, his face writhing with pain of the 
burning heat, pursued and sought out Lichas alone 
among them all. The boy, embracing the altar with 
trembling hands, through sheer terror tasted the 
pangs of death, and left small part of his life for 
punishment. Then Hercules, by his hand seizing 
the quivering corpse, exclaimed : " By such a hand, 
by such a hand as this, ye fates, shall I be said to 
haye been undone ? Has Lichas conquered Hercules ? 
Behold another slaughter ; Hercules in turn slays 
Lichas. Be my deeds dishonoured ; be this my 
crowning task." To the stars the boy went hurtling 
and sprinkled the clouds with his scattered blood. 
So does a Getan arrow, from the hand let fly, go 
speeding skyward, or the shaft a Cydonian has shot ; 
but far below l even these weapons will wing their 
flight. His body falls into the sea, his head upon the 
rocks ; one youth lies slain in both. 2 



1 i.e. below the height reached by Lichas. 
* i.e. both head and body. 



251 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

" Resistite " inquit " non furor mentem abstulit, 
furore gravius istud atque ira malum est : 
in me iuvat saevire." vix pestem indicat 
et saevit ; artus ipse dilacerat suos 
et membra vasta carpit avellens manu. 
exuere amictus quaerit ; hoc solum Herculem 
non posse vidi. trahere conatus tamen 
et membra traxit ; corporis palla horridi 830 

pars est et ipsa ; pestis immiscet cuti. 1 
nee causa dirae cladis in medio patet, 
sed causa tamen est ; vixque sufficiens malo 
nunc ore terram languidus prono premit, 
nunc poscit undas unda non vincit malum ; 
fluctisona quaerit litora et ponturn occupat ; 
famularis ilium retinet errantem manus 
o sortem acerbam ! fuimus Alcidae pares ! 

Nunc puppis ilium litore Euboico refert 
Austerque lenis pondus Herculeum rapit ; 840 

destituit animus membra, nox oculos premit. 

DEI AN IRA 

Quid, anime, cessas? quid stupes? factum est scelus. 
natum reposcit luppiter, luno aemulum ; 
reddendus orbi est. quod potes redde exhibe : 
eat per artus ensis exactus meos. 
sic, sic agendum est. tarn levis poenas manus 
tantas reposcit ? perde fulminibus, socer, 

1 Following Richter's reconstruction: pars (parum E) est et 
ipsam (ipsa A) MSS., for which Leo conjectures ipsam pestis 
immiscet cutem (scil. pcdlae). 

1 And not against others as heretofore. 
252 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

823 B u t hold ! " said Hercules ; " 'tis not madness 
has robbed me of my wits ; this bane is worse than 
madness and than rage ; I am fain to rave against 
myself." l Scarce has he named the plague when 
lo, he raves,, he tears his own flesh apart, with his 
own hand wounding and rending his huge limbs. 
He seeks to throw aside the robe ; in this alone have 
I seen Alcides fail. Yet striving to tear the robe, 
he tears his limbs as well. The robe is part and 
parcel of his rugged body ; the pest blends it with 
the skin. The cause of his dire suffering is hid, but 
still there is a cause ; and, scarce able to endure his 
pain, now he lies spent, face down upon the ground, 
now calls for water water checks not his pain ; he 
seeks the wave-resounding shore and plunges in the 
sea, but a slave's hand restrains him wandering 
aimless there oh, bitter lot ! we were Alcides' 
equals ! 2 

839 And now a vessel is bringing him from Euboea's 
shore, and a gentle south wind wafts his huge bulk 
along ; his spirit has left his body ; night seals his 
eyes. 

DE'IANIRA 

Why, soul, dost hesitate ? Why art amazed ? The 
crime is done. Jupiter demands back his son of 
thee, Juno, her rival ; yea, to the world must he be 
restored. 3 What still thou canst, give back, make 
restitution ; let the sword, deep driven, through my 
body pass. So, so must it be done. But does so 
frail hand as this exact punishment so great ? With 
thy thunderbolts, O sire, destroy thy guilty daughter. 

2 i.e. in the hero's present weakness, common men were 
able to control him. 

3 She has robbed the world of Hercules, and now must 
make such restitution as she may. 

953 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

nurum scelestam. nee levi telo manus 

armetur; illud fulmen exiliat polo, 

quo, nisi fuisset genitus Alcides tibi, 850 

hydram cremasses. pestem ut insolitam feri 

et ut noverca potius irata malum. 

emitte telum quale in errantem prius 

Phaethonta missum est : perdidi in solo Hercule 

et ipsa populos. 

Quid rogas telum deos ? 
iam parce socero ; coniugem Alcidae necem 
optare pudeat ; haec erit voto manus, 
a me petatur ; occupa ferrum ocius. 
cur deinde ferrum ? quidquid ad mortem trahit 
telum est abunde rupe ab aetheria ferar. 860 

haec, haec renatum prima quae poscit diem, 
Oeta eligatur, corpus hinc mitti placet, 
abrupta cautes scindat et partem mei 
ferat omne saxum, pendeant lacerae manus 
totumque rubeat asperi montis latus. 
levis una mors est levis ? at extendi potest. 
eligere nescis, anime, cui telo incubes ; 
utinam esset, utinam fixus in thalamis meis 
Herculeus ensis ! huic decet ferro inmori. 
una perire dextera nobis sat est ? 870 

coite, gentes, saxa et immensas faces 
iaculetur orbis, nulla nunc cesset manus, 
corripite tela, vindicem vestrum abstuli. 
impune saevi sceptra iam reges gerent, 
impune iam nascetur indomitum malum ; 
repetentur arae cernere assuetae hostiam 
similem colenti. sceleribus feci viarn ; 

254 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

And with no common weapon let thy hand be armed ; 
let that bolt leap from heaven with which, had 
Alcides not sprung from thee, thou wouldst have 
scorched the Hydra. Destroy me as some strange 
pest, as a scourge far worse than step-dame's wrath. 
Launch such a bolt as once thou didst hurl at stray- 
ing Phaethon ; for I, e'en I myself, in Hercules alone 
have ruined nations. 

855 But why dost ask weapons of the gods? At 
last spare thy father. 1 The wife of Hercules should 
be ashamed to pray for death ; this hand shall grant 
my prayer ; from myself let death be sought. Then 
quickly seize the sword. Why then the sword? 
Whatever brings to death is weapon all-sufficient 
from a sky-piercing cliff I'll cast me down. Let this, 
this crag of Oeta, which is the first to greet the new- 
born day, be chosen ; from this 'tis well to fling me. 
May its broken crags rend asunder, and every rock 
take its share of me ; may my mangled hands hang 
there, and may the whole rough mountain-side run 
red. One death is all too light light? but still it 
can be prolonged. Thou canst not choose, O soul, 
on what weapon thou shalt fall. Oh, would that the 
sword of Hercules were hanging in my chamber! 
Upon that steel 'twere well for me to die. But is it 
enough that by one right hand I perish ? Come all 
ye nations ; let the world cast rocks and huge fire- 
brands on me ; let no hand shrink its task ; seize 
weapons, for your avenger have I done to death. 
Now with impunity shall cruel kings wield sceptres ; 
yea, with impunity now fierce monsters shall be born ; 
again shall altars be found wont to behold victim 
like to worshipper. 2 A highway to crime have I 

1 i.e. do not impose thy punishment on Jove. 

2 i.e. where human sacrifices are offered up. 

255 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

ego vos tyrannis regibus monstris feris 

saevisque rapto vindice opposui deis. 

cessas, Tonantis socia ? non spargis facem 880 

imitata fratrem et mittis ereptam lovi 

meque ipsa perdis ? laus tibi erepta incluta est, 

ingens triumphus ; aemuli, luno, tui 

mortem occupavi. 

HYLLVS 

Quid domum impulsam trahis ? 
erroris est hie omne quodcumque est nefas. 
liaut est nocens quicumque non sponte est nocens. 

DEIANIRA 

Quicumque fato ignoscit et parcit sibi, 
errare meruit. morte damnari placet. 

HYLLVS 
Nocens videri qui mori quaerit cupit. 

DEIANIRA 
Mors innocentes sola deceptos facit. 890 

HYLLU8 

Titana fugiens 

DEIANIRA 
Ipse me Titan fug't. 

HYLLVS 
Vitam relinques ? 

1 i.e. the "nation" addressed in line 871. 
256 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

prepared ; I have exposed you l to tyrants, kings, 
monsters, wild beasts and cruel gods, by slaying your 
avenger. Dost shirk thy task, wife 2 of the thun- 
derer? Why dost thou not, in imitation of thy 
brother, 2 scatter fire, snatch from Jove's hand his 
bolt, hurl it, and thyself destroy me ? Illustrious 
praise and mighty triumph have been snatched from 
thee ; I have forestalled thee, Juno, in thy rival's 
death. 

HYLLUS 

Why dost drag down a house already shaken ? 
From error springs wholly whatever crime is here. 
He does no sin who sins without intent. 

DEIANIRA 

Whoever, because of fate, excuses and spares him- 
self, has deserved to err. My sentence is for death. 

HYLLUS 
Fain would he seem guilty who seeks to die. 

DEIANIRA 

'Tis death alone can make the beguiled 3 innocent. 

HYLLUS 
Fleeing the sun 

DEIANIRA 

The sun himself flees me. 

HYLLUS 

Wilt abandon life ? 

2 Juno was both sister and wife of Jove. 
* i.e. those who have been ensnared into sin. 

257 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

DEIANIRA 

Miseram, ut Alciden sequar. 

HYLLVS 

Superest et auras ille caelestes trahit. 

DEIANIRA 

Vinci Hercules cum potuit, hinc coepit mori. 

HYLLVS 

Natum relinques fataque abrumpes tua ? 

DEIANIRA 

Quamcumque natus sepelit haec vixit diu. 

HYLLVS 

Virum sequeris. 

DEIANIRA 

Praegredi castae solent. 

HYLLVS 

Si te ips.i damnas, scelere te misera arguis. 

DEIANIRA 

Nemo nocens sibi ipse poenas abrogat. 

HYLLVS 

Multis remissa est vita quorum error nocens, 900 
non dextra fuerat. fata quis damnat sua ? 



258 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

DEIANIRA 

Ay ! a wretched life that Alcides I may follow. 

HYLLUS 

But he still lives and breathes the air of heaven. 

DEIANIRA 

When Hercules could be conquered, then he 
began to die. 

HYLLUS 

Wilt leave thy son? Wilt break thy thread of 
life? 

DEIANIRA 

She whom her son has buried has lived long. 

HYLLUS 

Follow thy husband. 1 

DEIANIRA 

Faithful wives go before. 

HYLLUS 

If thou thyself dost doom thee, thou convictest 
thyself, unhappy one, of sin. 

DEIANIRA 

No guilty one himself annuls his punishment. 

HYLLUS 

Life has been granted many whose guilt lay in 
wrong judgment, not in act. Who blames his own 

destiny ? 

1 i.e. do not die until he is dead. 

259 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

DE'IANIRA 

Quicuraque fata iniqua sortitus fuit. 

HYLLVS 

Hie ipse Megaram nempe confixam suis 
stravit sagittis atque natorum indolem 
Lernaea figens tela furibunda manu ; 
ter parricida factus ignovit tamen 
sibi, non furori. fonte Cinyphio scelus 
sub axe Libyco tersit et dextram abluit. 
quo, misera, pergis ? cur tuas damnas man us ? 

DEIANIRA 

Damnat meas devictus Alcides manus. 910 

placet scelus pilnire. 

HYLLVS 



Si novi Herculem, 
aderit cruenti forsitan victor mali 
dolorque fractus cedet Alcidae tuo. 

DE'IANIRA 

Exedit artus virus ut fama est hydrae ; 
immensa pestis coniugis membra abstulit. 

HYLLVS 

Serpentis illi virus enectae autumas 
haut posse vinci qui malum vivum tulit? 
elisit hydram, dente cum infixo stetit l 
media palude victor, effuso obrutus 
artus veneno. sanguis hunc Nessi opprimet, 920 
qui vicit ipsas horridi Nessi manus ? 

1 So Peiper, with A : fcum fixo tenens Leo, with E, and 
conjectures dum in fee to tumet : Richter conjectures iam infixo 
tumens. 

260 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

DEIANIRA 

Whoever has fallen on unkind fates. 

HYLLUS 

But Hercules himself slew Megara, pierced by his 
arrows, and his own sons as well, shooting Lernaean 
shafts with furious hand ; still, though thrice mur- 
derer, he forgave himself, but not his madness. At 
the source of Cinyps 'neath Libyan skies he washed 
away his guilt and cleansed his hands. Whither, 
poor soul, dost haste thee ? Why dost condemn thy 
hands ? 

DEI' AN 1 11 A 

'Tis Alcides' overthrow that doth condemn my 
hands. 'Tis well to punish crime. 

HYLLUS 

If I know Hercules, he will soon be here, per- 
chance victorious o'er the cruel plague ; and pain, 
subdued, will yield to thy Alcides. 

DEIANIRA 

The hydra's poison, as report declares, hath con- 
sumed his frame ; the deadly plague hath wasted his 
giant limbs. 

HYLLUS 

Thinkst thou the poison of a serpent, slain, cannot 
be overcome by him who met and overcame the 
monster, living? He crushed the hydra, and deep 
in the marsh, with the fangs fixed in his flesh, he 
stood victorious, while his limbs were bathed in 
venom. Shall Nessus' blood destroy the man who 
overcame e'en the hands of savage Nessus? 



26] 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

DEIANIRA 

Frustra tenetur ille qui statuit mori ; 
proinde lucem fugere decretum est mihi. 
vixit satis quicumque cum Alcide occidit. 

NVTRIX 

Per has aniles ecce te supplex comas 
atque ubera ista paene materna obsecro : 
depone tumidas pectoris laesi minas 
mortisque dirae expelle decretum horridum. 

DEIANIRA 

Quicumque misero forte dissuadet mori, 
crudelis ille est ; interim poena est mori, 930 

sed saepe donum ; pluribus veniae fuit. 

NVTRIX 

Defende saltern dexteram, infelix, tuam 
fraudisque facinus esse, non nuptae, sciat. 

DEIANIRA 

Defendar illic ; inferi absolvent ream, 
a me ij>sa damnor ; purget has Pluton manus. 
stabo ante ripas immemor, Lethe, tuas 
et umbra tristis coniugem excipiam meum. 

Sed tu, nigrantis regna qui torques poli, 
para laborem (scelera quae quisquam ausus est, 
hie vincet error ; luno non ausa Herculem est 940 
eripere terris) horridam poenam para. 
Sisyphia cervix cesset et nostros lapis 



262 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

DEIANIRA 

Vainly is he restrained who is bent on death ; my 
will is fixed straightway to flee the light. Whoever 
has died with Hercules has lived enough. 

NURSE 

Lo, by these aged locks and by these breasts 
which were almost as a mother's to thee, I humbly 
pray ; put by the wild threatenings of thy wounded 
heart, and banish thy dread resolve of cruel death. 

DEIANIRA 

Whoever, perchance, dissuades the wretched from 
death, he is the cruel one ; sometimes death is a 
punishment, but often 'tis a boon, and to many a 
way of pardon has it proved. 

NURSE 

At least absolve thy hand, unhappy one, that he 
may know that the deed was a treacherous foeman's, 
not his wife's. 

DEIANIRA 

There 1 shall I be absolved; the lower gods will 
acquit the criminal, though I condemn myself. Let 
Pluto cleanse these hands. Upon thy banks, O 
Lethe, shall I stand, the past forgotten, and my 
grieving shade will welcome its lord again. 

938 But do thou, who torturest the realms of the dark 
under-world, prepare a toil for this fault of mine 
outweighs all sins that man has ever dared; Juno 
was never bold enough to rob the world of Hercules 
some dreadful toil prepare. Let Sisyphus' neck 

1 In the lower world. 

263 



THE TRAGEDIES OB' SENECA 

impellat umeros ; me vagus fugiat latex 
meamque fallax unda deludat sitim. 
merui manus praebere turbinibus tuis, 
quaecumque regem Thessalum torques rota; 
effodiat avidus hinc et hinc vultur fibras. 
vacat l una Danais, has ego explebo vices 
laxate manes, recipe me comitem tibi, 
Phasiaca coniunx ; peior haec, peior tuo 950 

utroque dextra est scelere, seu mater nocens 
seu dira soror es ; adde me comitem tuis, 
Threicia coniunx, sceleribus ; natam tuam, 
Althaea mater, recipe, nunc veram tui 
agnosce prolem quid tamen tantum manus 
vestrae abstulerunt? claudite Elvsium mihi 

J 

quaecumque fidae coniuges nemoris sacri 

lucos tenetis ; si qua respersit manus 

viri cruore nee memor castae facis 

stricto cruenta Belias ferro stetit, 9^0 

in me suas agnoscat et laudet manus. 

in hanc abire coniugum turbam libet 

sed et ilia fugiet turba tarn diras manus. 

Invicte coniunx, innocens animus mihi, 
scelesta manus est. pro nimis mens credula ! 
pro Nesse fallax atque semiferi doli! 
auferre cupiens paelici eripui mihi. 
recede, Titan, tuque quae blanda tenes 
in luce miseros vita ; caritura Hercule 
lux vilis ista est. exigam poenas tibi 970 

reddamque vitam fata an extendo mea 
mortenlique, coniunx, ad tuas servo manus \ 

1 So Richter . Leo vacet, with , corrected by Raphding, 

1 The punishment of Tantalus. 

2 Ixion. 8 Hypermnestra. 
4 Medea. * Procue. 

264 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

be eased and let his rock press hard upon my shoul- 
ders ; let the inconstant water fly my lips, my thirst 
let the elusive waves deceive. 1 Unto thy whirlings 
have I deserved to give my hands, whatsoe'er wheel 
thou art which rackest Thessalia's king ; 2 from every 
side let the greedy vulture tear my entrails out. There 
still lacks one 3 from the Danaides ; I will fill up 
their number ye ghosts make room for me. Take 
me as thy companion, O Phasian wife; 4 my deed is 
worse, far worse than both thy crimes, whether as 
mother or as cruel sister thou hast sinned ; let me be 
comrade also to thy crimes, thou Thracian wife; 5 
Althea, mother, 6 welcome thy daughter, now recog- 
nize in me thine own true child yet what crime so 
great have your hands ever done ? Shut Elysium 
against me, O all ye faithful wives who have your 
dwelling in its sacred grove; but if any has be- 
spattered her hands with her husband's blood and 
her chaste marriage torch forgot, has stood with 
drawn sword like Belus' bloody child, in me let her 
recognize and praise her own handiwork. To such 
a company of wives 'tis well to pass but e'en that 
company will shun hands so accursed. 

964 O my unconquered husband, my soul is inno- 
cent, though my hands have sinned. O mind too 
credulous! O Nessus, false and of half-bestial 
guile ! Striving to snatch him from a concubine, I 
have snatched him from myself. Away ! thou sun, 
and life, who by thy cozening arts dost keep the 
unhappy in the light of day ; worthless that light 
without my Hercules. I will exact penalty for thee, 7 
will give up my life or shall I put off my fate, O 
husband, and save myself for death at thine own 

6 For Althaea's crime see Index. 

7 i.e. will see that he is avenged. 

26.5 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

virtusne superest aliqua et armatae manus 

intendere arcum tela missurum valent ? 

an arma cessant teque languenti manu 

non audit arcus ? si potes letum dare, 

animose coniunx, dexteram expecto tuam. 

mors differatur ; frange ut insontem Lichan, 

alias in urbes sparge et ignotum tibi 

inmitte in orbem. perde ut Arcadiae nefas 980 

et quidquid aliud cessit l ; ab illis tamen, 

coniunx, redisti. 

HYLLVS 

Parce iam, mater, precor, 
ignosce fatis ; error a culpa vacat. 

DEIANIRA 

Si vera pietas, Hylle, quaerenda est tibi, 
iam perime matrem trepida quid tremuit manus ? 
quid ora flectis ? hoc erit pietas scelus. 
ignave dubitas ? Herculem eripuit tibi 
haec, haec peremit dextra cui debes patri 
avum Tonantem. maius eripui decus, 
quam in luce tribui. si tibi ignotum est nefas, 990 
a matre disce. seu tibi iugulo placet 
mersisse ferrum sive maternum libet 
invadere uterum, mater intrepidum tibi 
praebebit animum. non erit tantum scelus 
a te peractum ; dextera sternar tua, 
sed mente nostra. natus Alcidae, times ? 
ita nulla perages iussa nee franges mala 2 

1 fcessit Leo, with E : restitit A. 

3 Line 90S, omitted by E t deleted by Leo: erres por orbem. 
si qua nascetur fera. 

266 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

hands ? Hast still some strength, and can thy 
armed hands still bend the bow and send the arrow 
darting ? Or do thy weapons fail thee, and does thy 
bow no more heed thy enfeebled hand ? If thou 
canst deal destruction, O undaunted husband, I 
await thy stroke. Let death be stayed awhile l ; 
crush me as thou didst the unoffending Lichas ; to 
other cities scatter me, yea, hurl me to a world to 
thee unknown. Destroy me as thou didst the 
Arcadian monster, 2 and whatever else succumbed to 
thee ; yet from them, my husband, thou didst 
return. 

HYLLUS 

Give o'er now, mother, I beseech thee, pardon thy 
fate ; an error is not counted as a crime. 

DEIANIRA 

If, Hyllus, thou wouldst be truly filial, come, slay 
thy mother why does thy hand quake and tremble? 
Why turnst thy face away ? This crime will be 
filial piety. Tamely dost hesitate ? This hand 
robbed thee of Hercules, yea, this right hand 
destroyed him to whom as father thou owest descent 
from Jove. Of greater glory have I robbed thee 
than I gave thee at thy birth. If thou art un- 
skilled in monstrous crime, learn from thy mother. 
Whether in my throat it pleases thee to plunge the 
sword, or 'tis thy will to assail thy mother's womb, 
thy mother herself will give thee unshrinking 
courage. Not by thee will this dreadful crime be 
done ; by thy hand, truly, shall I fall, but by my 
will. Son of Alcides, art afraid ? Wilt thou not do 
as bidden, wilt not crush monsters, and so be like 

1 i.e. until she may die at her husband's hands. 
a The Erymanthian boar, Hercules' fourth labour. 

267 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

referens parentem ? dexteram intrepidam para. 999 
patet ecce plenum pectus aerumnis : feri ; 1000 

scelus remitto, dexterae parcent tuae 
Eumenides ipsae verberum crepuit sonus. 

Quaenam ista torquens angue vipereo l comam 
temporibus atras 2 squalidis pinnas quatit ? 
quid me flagrant! dira persequeris face, 
Megaera ? poenas poscis Alcidae ? dabo. 
iamne inferorum, dira, sedere arbitri ? 
sedent. reclusas 3 carceris video fores, 
quis iste saxum immane detritis gerit 
iam senior umeris ? ecce iam victus lapis 1010 

quaerit relabi ? membra quis quatitur rota ? 
hie ecce pallens dira Tisiphone stetit, 
causam reposcit. parce verberibus precor, 
Megaera, parce, sustine Stygias faces ; 
scelus est amoris. 

Sed quid hoc ? tellus labat 
et aula tectis crepuit excussis minax 
unde iste coetus ? totus in voltus meos 
decurrit orbis, hinc et hinc populi fremunt 
totusque poscit vindicem mundus suum. 
iam parcite, urbes. quo fugam praeceps agam ? 1020 
mors sola portus dabitur aerumnis meis. 
tester nitentis flammeam Phoebi rotam 
superosque testor : Herculem in terris adhuc 
moritura linquo. 

1 fangue vipereo Leo: angui E: igne N. Heimius : angue 
vibrato Peiper. 

268 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

thy sire ? Thy dauntless hand make ready. Behold 
my breast, so full of cares, lies open : smite ; I 
forgive the deed, the Eumenides themselves will 
acquit thy hand but I hear their scourges hissing. 

iocs oh, who is that in whose locks viperous 
serpents coil, who brandishes deadly shafts at her 
foul temples? Why dost pursue me, awful Megaera, 
with blazing torch ? Penalty for Alcides' murder 
dost demand ? I'll pay. Already, dread one, have 
the arbiters of hell passed judgment on me? They 
have. I see the prison doors opened wide. Who is 
that ancient 1 who bears a huge stone on his toil-worn 
back ? But see ! already does the mastered stone 
seek to roll back again ? Whose 2 limbs on the 
wheel are racked ? Look ! here has Tisiphone 
taken her stand, ghastly and dread ; she demands 
revenge. Oh, spare thy scourge, I pray thee, 
Megaera, spare ! Keep back the Stygian torches ; 
mine was the crime of love. 

1015 But what is this ? The earth quakes, the 
palace resounds with the noise of crashing roofs 
whence comes that threatening throng? The whole 
world comes rushing 'gainst me, on every side the 
nations rage and the whole universe demands of me 
its saviour. Oh, spare me now, ye cities. Whither 
shall I rush in headlong flight? Death alone will 
be granted as a haven for my cares. By gleaming 
Phoebus' flaming car I swear, I swear by the 
heavenly gods : though to my death I go, I leave 
Alcides still upon the earth. 

[She rushes wildly from the scene.] 
1 Sisyphus. 2 Ixion. 

So A : Leo fhastas, with E : Madvig aptas. 
3 So Richter : Leo, with A, fsed ecce diras. 



269 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

HYLLVS 

Fugit attonita, ei mihi. 
peracta iam pars matris est statuit mori ; 
nunc nostra superest, mortis auferre impetum. 
o misera pietas ! si mori matrem vetas, 
patri es scelestus ; si mori patens, tamen 
in matre peccas. urget hinc illinc scelus. 
inhibenda tamen est, verum ut eripiam scelus. 1030 

CHORVS 

Verum est quod cecinit sacer 
Thressae sub Khodopes iugis 
aptans Pieriam chelyn 
Orj)heus Calliopae genus, 
aeternum fieri nihil. 
ill i us stetit ad modos 
torrentis rapidi fragor, 
oblitusque sequi fugam 
amisit liquor impetum ; 
et dum fluminibus mora est, 101-0 

defecisse putant Getae 
Hebrum Bistones ultimi. 
advexit volucrem nemus 
et silva residens venit ; 
aut si qua aera pervolat, 
auditis vaga cantibus 
ales deficiens cadit. 
abrumpit scopulos Athos 
Centauros obiter ferens 
et iuxta Rhodopen stetit 1050 

laxata nive cantibus ; 
et quercum fugiens suam 
ad vatem properat Dryas 
ad cantus veniunt tuos 

270 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

HYLLUS 

Ah me ! in frenzy has she fled. Already has my 
mother played her part she has resolved on death ; 
now does my part remain, to thwart her deadly 
purpose. O wretched plight of love ! if thou 
forbidst thy mother's death, thou wrongst thy father ; 
if thou sufferest her to die, still 'gainst thy mother 
dost thou sin. Crime drives from either hand ; still 
must I check her, that from true l crime she may be 
saved. [Exit after his mother.] 

CHORUS 

True sang the bard beneath the heights of 
Thracian Rhodope, fitting the word to his Pierian 
lyre, e'en Orpheus, Calliope's blest son, that naught 
for endless life is made. At his sweet strains the 
rushing torrents' roar was stilled, and, forgetful of 
their eager flight, the waters ceased their flow ; 
and, while the river stayed to hear, the far 
Bistonians thought their Hebrus had failed the 
Getan. The woods came with their birds to him, 
yea, perched among the trees they came ; or if, in 
the high air soaring, some wandering bird caught 
sound of the charming song, his drooping wings sank 
earthward. Athos broke off his crags, bringing the 
Centaurs as he came, and next to Rhodope he 
stood, his snows melted by the music ; the Dryad, 
leaving her oaken haunts, sped to the singer's 
side. To hear thy song, with their very lairs the 

1 i.e. the true crime of her own death as contrasted with 
the fancied crime of her act against Hercules. 

271 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

ipsis cum latebris ferae, 

iuxtaque inpavidum pecus 

sedit Marmaricus leo 

nee dammae trepidant lupos 

et serpens latebras fugit, 

tune oblita veneni. 1060 

Quin per Taenarias fores 
manes cum tacitos adit 
maerentem feriens chelyn, 
cantu Tartara flebili 
et tristes Erebi deos 
vicit nee timuit Stygis 
iuratos superis lacus. 
haesit non stabilis rota 
victo languida turbine ; 

increvit Tityi iecur, 1070 

dum cantu volucres tenet; 1071 

et vinci lapis improbus 1081 

et vatem potuit sequi. 1 1082 

tune primum Phrygius senex 1075 

undis stantibus immemor 
excussit rabidam sitim 

nee pomis adhibet manus. 1078 

audis tu 2 quoque, navita; 1072 

inferni ratis aequoris 1073 

nullo remigio venit. 1074 

sic cum vinceret inferos 1079 

Orpheus carmine funditus, 1080 

consumptos iterum deae 1083 

supplent Eurydices colus. 1084 

sed dum respicit immemor 

1 The arrangement of lines 1070-1084 as they stand in Leo 
(he A/SS. is more or lestt i//ot/i<-al, besides presenting 



syntactic dificidtita. The rc-arrangemeid of Richter has been 
adojit&d here, 

272 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

wild beasts came, and close to the fearless herds the 
Marmaric lion crouched ; does felt no fear of wolves, 
and the serpent fled her gloomy den, her venom at 
last forgot. 

1061 Nay, when through the gates Taenarian to the 
silent ghosts he came, smiting his mournful lyre, 
with his sad song he conquered Tartarus and the 
sullen gods of Erebus ; nor was he daunted by the 
pools of Styx, by which the high gods swear. The 
never staying wheel l stood still, listless, with 
conquered whirling ; the liver of Tityus grew, 
undevoured, while spell-bound the singer held the 
birds. The impish stone 2 allowed defeat and 
attended on the bard. Then first the aged Phrygian, 3 
though the waves stood still, banished his raging 
thirst, forgetful quite, nor to the apples stretched 
his hand. Thou also, ferryman, 4 didst hear, and thy 
boat that plies the infernal sea came oarless on. 
So when by his song Orpheus had utterly o'ercome 
the infernal gods, then did the goddesses 5 renew 
again Eury dice's exhausted thread. But while 
Orpheus thoughtlessly looked back, all unbelieving 

1 On which Ixion was bound. 

2 Which Sisyphus was rolling. 

3 Tantalus. 4 Charon. 

6 i.e. the fatal sisters, the Parcae. 

3 So Birt'a emendation of the impossible MSS. rending audito 
qnoque : Richter's auditum quoque is also impossible. 

273 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

nee credens sibi redditam 
Orpheus Eurydicen sequi, 
cantus praemia perdidit ; 
quae nata est iterum perit. 

Tune, solamina cantibus 1090 

quaerens, flebilibus modis 
1 haec Orpheus cecinit Getis : 
leges in superos datas, 
et qui tempora digerit 
quattuor praecipites deus 
anni disposuit vices 
nulH non avidi colus 
Parcas stamina nectere, 
quod natum est, quod erit, raori 2 

Vati credere Thracio 1100 

devictus iubet Hercules, 
iam, iam legibus obrutis 
mundo cum veniet dies, 
australis polus obruet 
quidquid per Libyam iacet 
et sparsus Garamas tenet ; 
arctous polus obruet 
quidquid subiacet axibus 
et siccus Boreas ferit. 

amisso trepidus polo 1 1 ] 

Titan excutiet diem, 
caeli regia concidens 
ortus atque obitus trahet 
atque omnes pariter deos 
perdet mors aliqua et chaos, 
et mors fata novissima 
in se constituet sibi. 
quis mundum capiet locus ? 

1 Leo is of the opinion that the beginning and the end of 
Orpheus' song have fallen out, and that lines 1097-1099 are to 

274 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

his Eurydice restored to him and following, he lost 
his singing's recompense ; and she had come to the 
verge of life only to die once more. 

1090 Then, solace in song still seeking, in mournful 
measures Orpheus thus to the Getans sang : that the 
gods are under law, e'en he who rules the seasons, 
who has arranged the four changes of the flying 
year ; that for no one the Parcae spin again the 
threads of the greedy distaff, and that all which has 
been and shall be born shall die. 1 

1100 The overthrow of Hercules bids us believe the 
Thracian bard. Soon, soon, when to the universe 
shall come the day that law shall be o'erwhelmed, 
the southern skies shall fall upon Libya's plains and 
all that the scattered Garamantians possess ; the 
northern heavens shall overwhelm all that lies 
beneath the pole and that Boreas smites with 
withering blasts. Then from the lost sky the 
affrighted sun shall fall and banish day. The palace 
of heaven shall sink, dragging down East and West, 
and death in some form and chaos shall o'erwhelm 
all gods in one destruction ; and death shall at last 
bring doom upon itself. What place will then 
receive the world ? Will the gates of Tartarus 

1 Reading according to the arrangement of Richter. See 
critical note a . 

be joined with the following lines. Richter reads 1098-1099 as 
OrpheuS song. 

2 fiichter proposes quod natum est, poterit mori. 

275 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

discedet via Tartar!, 

fractis ut pateat polis ? 1 120 

an quod dividit aethera 

a terris spatium sat est 

et mundi nimium malis ? 

quis tantum capiet (nefas) 

fatum, quis superos locus ? 

pontum Tartara sidera 

regna unus capiet tria. 

Sed quis non modicus fragor 
aures attonitas mo vet ? 
est est Herculeus sonus. 1130 

HERCVLES 

Converte, Titan clare, anhelantes equos, 
emitte noctem ; pereat hie mundo dies 
quo morior, atra nube inhorrescat polus ; 
obsta novercae. nunc, pater, caecum chaos 
reddi decebat, hinc et hinc compagibus 
ruptis uterque debuit frangi polus. 
quid parcis astris ? Herculem amittis, pater, 
nunc partem in omnem, luppiter, specta poli, 
ne quis Gyas Thessalica iaculetur iuga 
et fiat Othrys pondus Encelado leve. 114-0 

laxabit atri carceris iam iam fores 
Pluton superbus, vincula excutiet patri 
caelumque reddet. ille qui pro fulmine 
tuisque facibus natus in terris eram, 
ad Styga revertor ; surget Enceladus ferox 
mittetque quo nunc premitur in superos onus ; 
regnum omne, genitor, aetheris dubium tibi 



1 Let the world be shrouded in darkness, that Juno may 
not see the death of Hercules. 

276 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

spread wide, that room for the shattered heavens 
may be found ? Or is the space 'twixt heaven and 
earth great enough (perchance too great) for the 
evils of the world ? What place will be great 
enough to hold (oh, horrible !) a death so vast, what 
place, the gods ? Sea, Tartarus and heaven three 
kingdoms shall one place contain. 

1128 But what outrageous clamour this that assails 
our startled ears? It is, it is the sound of Hercules. 

\Enter HERCULES in Ike extremity of suffering.] 



HERCULES 

Turn back, O shining Sun, thy panting steeds, and 
let loose the night ; let this day wherein I die perish 
for the world, and let heaven shudder in the pitchy 
dark. So thwart l my stepdame. Now, father, were 
it fitting to restore blind chaos ; now this side and 
that should heaven's frame be burst and both poles 
rent asunder. Why dost thou spare the stars ? 
Thou art losing Hercules, O father. Now, Jupiter, 
look well to every part of heaven, lest any Gyas 
hurl Thessalian crags and Othrys become a slight 
missile for Enceladus. 2 Now, now will haughty 
Pluto open his dark prison gates, strike off his 
father's 3 chains and give him back to heaven. 
Since I thy son, who on earth have been in place of 
thy bolt and lightning flash, am turning me back to 
Styx, Enceladus, the fierce, will rise, and the mass 
'neath which he now is crushed will he hurl against 
the gods ; yea, father, thy whole realm of air will 
my death put to hazard. Then ere thou art utterly 

2 The reference is to the former battle of the Giants 
against Jupiter, See Index s.v. "Giants." 
s Saturn. 

277 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

mors nostra faciet. antequam spolium tui l 

caelum omne fiat, conde me tota, pater, 

mundi ruina, frange quern perdis polum. 1150 

CHORVS 

Non vana times, nate Tonantis. 
mine Thessalicam Pelion Ossam 
premet et Pindo congestus Athos 
nemus aetheriis inseret astris ; 
vincet scopulos inde Typhoeus 
et Tyrrhenam feret Inarimen ; 
feret Aetnaeos inde caminos 
scindetque latus mentis aperti 
nondum Enceladus fulmine victus. 
iam te caeli regna secuntur. 2 1160 

HERCVLES 

Ego qui relicta morte, contempta Styge 
per media Lethes stagna cum spolio redi 
quo paene lapsis excidit Titan equis, 
ego quern deorum regna senserunt tria, 
morior ; nee ullus per meum stridet latus 
transmissus ensis, haut meae telum necis 8 
est totus Othrys, non truci rictu gigans 1 168 

Pindo cadaver obruit toto meum : 
sine hoste vincor, quodque me torquet magis 1170 
(o misera virtus !) summus Alcidae dies 
nullum malum prosternit ; inpendo, ei mihi, 
in nulla vitam facta. 

Pro mundi arbiter 

superique quondam dexterae testes meae, 
pro cuncta tellus, Herculem vestrum placet 

1 tibi E. 2 signa sequentur A. 

3 Leo deletes line 1167, saxuni est nee icstar mentis abrupti 
latus. 

278 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

despoiled of heaven, bury me, father, 'neath the 
whole ruined world ; shatter the skies which thou art 
doomed to lose. 



CHORUS 



Not vain thy fears, son of the Thunderer. Soon 
now shall Pelion weigh down Thessalian Ossa, and 
Athos, on Pindus heaped, shall thrust his forests 
midst the heavenly stars ; then shall Typhoeus 
overcome the crags l and upheave Tuscan Inarime ; 
the Aetnean furnaces then shall Enceladus upheave, 
not yet by thy bolt o'ercome, and rend the gaping 
mountain's side. E'en now the kingdoms of the sky 
are following thee. 2 



HERCULES 



Lo I, who have escaped from death, who scorned 
the Styx, who through the midst of Lethe's pool 
have returned with spoil, 3 at sight whereof Titan 
was almost flung from his falling car, I, whose 
presence three realms of gods have felt, am perishing. 
No deep-thrust sword grates through my side, nor is 
all Othrys the instrument of my death ; no giant 
with fierce and gaping jaws has buried my body 
beneath the whole of Pindus ; no, without enemy 
am I overcome and, thought which racks me more, 
(shame to my manhood !) the last day of Alcides has 
seen no monster slain. Ah, woe is me ! I am 
squandering my life for no return. 

1173 O thou ruler of the world, ye gods, once 
witnesses of my deeds, O earth entire, is it resolved 

1 Beneath which he is buried. 

8 i.e. Jupiter is falling and his kingdom with him. 

8 Cerberus. 

279 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

morte hac perire ? l dirus o nobis pudor, 

o turpe fatum femina Herculeae necis 

auctor feretur ! morior Alcides quibus ? 

invicta si me cadere feminea manu 

voluere fata perque tarn turpes colus 1180 

mea mors cucurrit, cadere potuissem, ei mini, 

lunonis odio. feminae caderem manu, 

sed caelum habentis. si nimis, superi, fuit, 

Scythico sub axe genita domuisset meas 

vires Amazon, feminae cuius manu 

lunonis hostis vincor ? hinc gravior tibi, 

noverca, pudor est. quid diem hunc laetum vocas ? 

quid tale tellus genuit iratae tibi ? 

mortalis odia femina excessit tua. 

adhuc ferebas esse te Alcidae imparem ; 1 190 

victa es duobus pudeat irarum deos ! 

utinam meo cruore satiasset suos 

Nemeaea rictus pestis aut centum anguibus 

vallatus hydram tabe pavissem mea ! 

utinam fuissem praeda Centauris datus 

aut inter umbras vinctus aeterno miser 

saxo sederem ! spolia nunc traxi ultima 

Fato stupente, nunc ab inferna Styge 

lucem recepi, Ditis evici moras 

ubique mors me fugit, ut leto inclitae 1200 

sortis carerem. pro ferae, victae ferae ! 

non me triformis sole conspecto canis 

ad Styga revexit, non sub Hesperio polo 

Hibera vicit turba pastoris feri, 

1 So N. Heinsius : fniorte ferire Leo, with E, conjecturing 
inertem obire : mortem perire A : perire inertem L. M tiller. 

1 He is thinking of the many monsters, beasts, tyrants, 
whom he has slain, he who must now die by a woman's hand. 

2 i.e. than for me. 

280 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

your Hercules should perish by such death as this ? 
Oh, cruel shame to me, oh, end most foul a woman 
will be called author of Alcides' death ! And for 
whom 1 is Alcides dying? If the fates unchanging 
have willed that by a woman's hand 1 fall, if through 
distaff so base the thread of my death has run, ah 
me ! that I might have fallen by Juno's hate ! 'Twould 
be by woman's hand, but of one who holds the 
heavens. If, O ye gods, that were too much to 
ask, the Amazon, born 'neath Scythian skies, might 
have o'ercome my strength. But by what woman's 
hand is Juno's foe o'ercome ? This is for thee, my 
stepdame, heavier 2 shame. Why callest thou this 
day joyful ? What monster such as this has earth 
produced to sate thy wrath 3 ? A mortal woman 
has outdone thy hate. Till now thou deemdst 
thyself by Alcides alone outmatched ; by two hast 
thou been surpassed of such wrath let heaven be 
ashamed ! Oh, that the Nemean lion with my blood 
had sated his gaping jaws, or that, hedged by a 
hundred snakes, I had fed the hydra with my gore ! 
O that I had been given to the Centaurs as a prey, 
or that midst the shades I, bound to an everlasting 
rock, in wretchedness were sitting ! But now have I 
dragged here my latest spoil 4 while Death looked 
on amazed ; now from infernal Styx have I regained 
the light, the bars of Dis I've conquered on every 
hand death shunned me, that I might lack at last 
a glorious end. O beasts, O conquered beasts ! 
Neither did the three-formed dog, when he saw the 
sun, drag me back to Styx, nor 'neath western skies 
did the Spanish rout of the wild shepherd 5 conquer 

8 He counts Deianira as worse than all monsters Juno has 
sent against him. She has outdone even Juno's hate. Hence 
Juno is put to shame. 4 Cerberus. 6 Geryon. 

281 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

non gemma serpens perdidi mortem, ei mihi, 
totiens honestam ! titulus extremus quis est ? 



CHORVS 

Viden ut laudis conscia virtus 
non Lethaeos horreat amnes ? 
pudet auctoris, non morte dolet ; 
cupit extremum finire diem 1210 

vasta tumidi mole gigantis 
et montiferum Titana pati 
rabidaeque necem debere ferae, 
sed tua causa est, miserande, manus, 
quod nulla fera est nullusque gigas ; 
nam quis dignus necis Herculeae 
superest auctor nisi dextra tui ? 

HERCVLES 

Heu qualis intus scorpios, quis fervida 
plaga revulsus cancer infixus meas 
urit medullas? sanguinis quondam capax 1220 

tumidi igne cor l pulmonis arentes fibras 
distendit, ardet felle siccato iecur 
totumque lentus sanguinem avexit vapor, 
primam cutem consumpsit, hinc aditum nefas 
in membra fecit, abstulit pestis latus, 
exedit artus penitus et costas malum, 
hausit medullas, ossibus vacuis sedet ; 
nee ossa durant ipsa, sed compagibus 
discussa ruptis mole conlapsa fluunt. 
defecit ingens corpus et pesti satis 1230 

Herculea non sunt membra pro quantum est malum 
quod esse vastum fateor, o dirum nefas ! 

1 S'o Richter : Leo, tumidi fiecur, with o>, conjecturing 
tumet igne cor : tumidi cor en N. Heinaiue. 

282 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

me, nor the twain serpents l ah, woe is me ! how 
often have I missed a glorious death ! My final 
claim to glory what is it ? 

CHORUS 

Seest thou how virtue, conscious of its fame, 
shrinks not from Lethe's stream ? He grieves not 
at death but blushes for its cause ; he longs 'neath 
some towering giant's vasty bulk to end the last 
day of life, to suffer some mountain-heaving Titan's 
weight, to owe his death to some wild, raging beast. 
But no, poor soul, because of thine own hand, there 
is no beast, no giant ; for what worthy author of 
the death of Hercules is left save thy right hand ? 

HERCULES 

Alas, what scorpion, 2 what crab, 2 torn from the 
torrid zone, burns deep fixed in my marrow? My 
heart, once filled with pulsing streams of blood, 
hotly distends the parched fibres of my lungs ; my 
liver glows, its bile dried quite away, and a slow fire 
has exhausted all my blood. First did the dread 
plague feed upon my skin, next to my limbs it 
passed, devoured my sides, then deep-in my joints 
and ribs the pest ate its way, and drank my very 
marrow. In my hollow bones it lurks ; nor do my 
bones themselves retain their hardness, but, shattered 
with broken structure, fall in a crumbling mass. My 
huge frame has shrivelled, and even the limbs of 
Hercules sate not the pest. Oh, how mighty the ill 
which I admit is great ! Oh, cruel curse ! Behold, 

1 Which Juno sent against him in his infancy. 

2 Pestilent creatures from among the constellations of the 
zodiac (fervida plaga). 

283 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

en cernite, urbes, cernite ex illo Hercule 

quid iam supersit. Herculem agnoscis, pater? 

hisne ego lacertis colla Nemeaei mail 

elisa press! ? tensus hac arcus manu 

astris ab ipsis detulit Stymphalidas ? 

his ego citatam gressibus vici feram 

radiante clarum fronte gestantem caput ? 

his fracta Calpe manibus emisit fretum? 1240 

his tot ferae, tot scelera, tot reges iacent? 

his mundus umeris sedit ? haec moles mea est, 

haecne ilia cervix ? hasne ego opposui manus 

caelo ruenti ? quis mea custos manu 

trahetur ultra Stygius ? ubi vires prius 

memet sepultae ? quid patrem appello lovem ? 

quid per Tonantem vindico caelum miser ? 

iam, iam meus credetur Amphitryon pater. 

Quaecumque pestis viscere in nostro lates, 
procede quid me vulnere occulto petis ? 1250 

quis te sub axe frigido pontus Scythes, 
quae pigra Tethys genuit aut Maurum premens 
Hibera Calpe litus ? o dirum malum ! 
utrumne serpens squalidum crista caput 
vibrans an aliquod et mihi ignotum malum, 
numquid cruore es genita JLernaeae ferae 
an te reliquit Stygius in terris canis ? 
omne es malum nullumque quis voltus tibi est ? 
concede saltern scire quo peream malo. 
quaecumque pestis sive quaecumque es fera, 1 260 



284 



' 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

ye cities, behold what now remains of that great 
Hercules. Dost recognize thy Hercules, my father? 
Was it with these arms I crushed and overwhelmed 
the Nemean plague? Was it with this hand I 
stretched the bow that brought down the Stym- 
phalian birds from the very stars ? With these feet 
did I o'ertake the swift-fleeing beast l with golden 
antlers gleaming on his head ? By these hands 
shattered, did Calpe 2 let out the sea? So many 
beasts, so many monstrous things, so many kings, 
have these hands of mine brought low ? Upon 
these shoulders did the heavens rest ? Is this my 
massive frame, is this my neck ? These hands did I 
oppose to the falling sky ? What Stygian watch-dog 
will hereafter be dragged forth by my hand ? 
Where are my powers, buried before my burial ? 
Why on Jove as father do I call ? Why, wretched 
man, by right of the Thunderer do I claim heaven ? 
Now, now will Amphitryon be deemed my sire. 

1249 O pest, whate'er thou art that lurkest in my 
vitals, come forth why dost attack me with a 
hidden smart? What Scythian Sea beneath the 
icy pole, what sluggish Tethys, what Spanish Calpe, 
crowding the Moorish coast, begot thee ? O cursed 
bane ! Art thou some serpent, brandishing his foul, 
full -crested head, or some evil thing even to me 
unknown ? Art thou begotten of the Lernaean 
monster's 3 gore, or did the Stygian dog leave thee 
here on earth ? Every ill thou art and yet no ill 
what form hast thou ? Grant me at least to know 
by what ill I am perishing. Whatever pest or what- 

1 The Arcadian stag. 

1 When Hercules rent the cliffs of Calpe and Abyla (the 
pillars of Hercules) asunder and gave outlet to the Mediter- 
ranean Sea. * The hydra. 

285 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

palam timere ! quis tibi in medias locum 
fecit medullas ? ecce direpta cute 
viscera manus detexit ; ulterior tamen 
inventa latebra est o malum simile Herculi ! 

Unde iste fletus ? unde in has lacrimae genas ? 
invictus olim voltus et numquam malis 
lacrimas suis praebere consuetus (pudet) 
iam flere didicit. quis dies fletum Herculis, 
quae terra vidit ? siccus aerumnas tuli. 
tibi ilia virtus, quae tot elisit mala, 1270 

tibi cessit uni ; prima et ante omnes mihi 
fletum abstulisti ; durior saxo horrido 
et chalybe voltus et vaga Symplegade 
rictus meos infregit et lacrimam l expulit. 2 
flentem gementem, summe pro rector poli, 
me terra vidit, quodque me torquet magis, 
noverca vidit. urit ecce iterum fibras, 
incaluit ardor unde nunc fulmen mihi ? 

CHORVS 

Quid non possit superare dolor? 
quondam Getico durior Haemo 1280 

nee Parrhasio lenior axe 
saevo cessit membra dolori 
fessumque movens per colla caput 
latus alterno pondere flectit, 
fletum virtus saepe resorbet. 
sic arctoas laxare nives 
quamvis tepido sidere Titan 
non tamen audet vincitque faces 
solis adusti glaciale iubar. 

1 lacrimas E. 2 extulit A. 

286 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

ever beast thou be, oppose me openly ! Who gave 
thee place within my inmost marrow ? See, my hand 
has ripped away the skin and the flesh uncovered ; 
yet deeper still must its lurking place be found O 
woe, invincible as Hercules ! 

1265 But whence this lamentation ? Whence tears 
upon these cheeks ? My face, before unmoved, and 
never wont to express its woes in tears, at last (oh, 
shame !) has learned to weep. What day, what 
country has seen the tears of Hercules ? Dry-eyed 
have I borne my cares. To thee * that strength, 
which has crushed so many monsters, to thee alone 
has yielded ; thou first of all hast forced tears from 
mine eyes ; my face, harder than rough rock, harder 
than steel and the wandering Symplegades, has re- 
laxed my visage and driven forth my tears. Me, 
weeping and groaning, O most high ruler of the 
heaven, the earth has seen and, thought which 
racks me more, my step-dame has seen. But lo, 
again the scorching heat flames up and burns my 
vitals. Oh, where is the lightning flash to bring 
me death ? 

CHORUS 

What may not suffering overcome ? But now, 
harder than Thracian Haemus' crags, than Par- 
rhasian skies more calm, to dire agony has he 
yielded him ; his head drops wearily upon his neck, 
from side to side he turns his mighty bulk and oft 
does his fortitude drain back his tears. So, with 
however fervent beam he shine, Titan avails not to 
melt the arctic snows, whose icy splendour defies the 
torches of the burning sun. 

1 Addressed to the hidden pest. 

287 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

HERCVLES 

Converte voltus ad meas clades, pater. 1290 

numquam ad tuas confugit Alcides manus, 
non cum per artus hydra fecundum meos 
caput explicaret ; inter infernos lacus 
possessus atra nocte cum Fato steti 
nee invocavi ; tot feras vici horridas, 
reges, tyranhos, nee tamen voltus meos 
in astra torsi semper haec nobis manus 
votum spopondit ; nulla propter me sacro 
micuere caelo fulmina hie aliquid dies 
optare iussit. primus audierit preces 1300 

idemque summus. unicum fulmen peto ; 
giganta crede. non minus caelum mihi 
asserere potui ; dum patrem verum puto, 
caelo peperci. sive crudelis, pater, 
sive es misericors, commoda nato manum 
properante morte et occupa hanc laudem tibi. 

Vel si piget man usque detrectat nefas, 
emitte Siculo vertice ardentes, pater, 
Titanas in me, qui manu Pindon ferant 
aut te, Ossa, qui me monte proiecto opprimant. 1 1310 
abrumpat Erebi claustra, me stricto petat 
Bellona ferro ; mitte Gradivum trucem, 
armetur in me dirus. est frater quidem, 
sed ex noverca. tu quoque, Alcidae soror 
tantum ex parente, cuspidem in fratrem tuum 
iaculare, Pallas, supplices tendo manus 
ad te, noverca : sparge tu saltern, precor, 

1 So A : Madvig aut te, Ossa, quae me . . . opprimat : Leo 
taut Ossa qui . . . opprimat with E % conjecturing Ossamque 
ut in me . . . opprimar. 

288 



HERCULES OETAEUS 



HERCULES 



O father, turn thou thine eyes on my calamity. 
Never till now has Alcides fled to thee for aid, not 
even when around my limbs the hydra entwined its 
fertile heads. Midst the infernal pools, by the black 
pall of night enfolded, 1 stood with Death nor did I 
call upon thee. So many dreadful beasts have I 
o'ercome, yea kings and tyrants ; yet have I ne'er 
lifted my face unto the stars. This hand of mine 
has ever been surety for my prayers ; no bolts for 
my sake have flashed from the sacred sky but this 
day has bidden me ask somewhat of thee. 'Tis the 
first to hear my prayers, 'twill be the last. Just one 
thunderbolt I ask ; count me a giant. 1 I could have 
laid hands on heaven no less than they ; but while I 
thought thee my sire in very truth, I spared the 
skies. Oh, whether thou be harsh, my sire, or 
merciful, lay hands on thy son with speedy death 
and claim thee this great renown. 2 

isu7 Q r ^ if thy hand shrinks reluctant from the 
impious task, 'gainst me release from Aetna's mount 
the burning Titans, who in their hands may heave 
Pindus up, or, Ossa, thee, and by the hurled mountain 
overwhelm me quite. Let Bellona burst the bars of 
Erebus and with drawn sword rush upon me ; or 
send fierce Mars ; let the dread god 'gainst me be 
armed. He is my brother, true, but of my step- 
dame born. Thou too, Alcides' sister, but by our 
sire alone, hurl thy spear, O Pallas, against thy 
brother hurl. And to thee, my step-dame, do I 
stretch suppliant hands ; do thou at least, 1 pray, let 

1 Think of me as one of the old giants storming heaven, and 
hurl a bolt at me. 
1 i.e. of killing Hercules ere Juno can do so. 

289 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

telum (perire feminae possum manu) 

iam fracta, iam satiata, quid pascis minas ? 

quid quaeris ultra ? supplicem Alciden vides, 1320 

et nulla tellus, nulla me vidit fera 

te deprecantem. nunc mihi irata quidem 1 

opus est noverca nunc tuus cessat dolor ? 

nunc odia ponis ? parcis ubi votum est mori. 

o terra et urbes, non facem quisquam Herculi, 

non arma tradet ? tela subtrahitis mihi ? 

ita nulla saevas terra concipiat feras 

post me sepultum nee meas umquam manus 

imploret orbis ; si qua nascentur mala, 

nascatur ultor. 2 undique infelix caput 1330 

mactate saxis, vincite aerumnas meas. 

ingrate cessas orbis ? excidimus tibi ? 

adhuc malis ferisque suppositus fores, 

ni me tulisses. vindicem vestrum malis 

eripite, populi ; tempus hoc vobis datur 

pensare merita mors erit pretium omnium. 



ALCMENA 

Quas misera terras mater Alcidae petam ? 
ubi natus, ubinam ? certa si visus notat, 
reclinis ecce corde anhelante aestuat ; 
gemit ; peractum est. membra conplecti ultima, 1340 
o nate, liceat, spiritus fugiens meo 
legatur ore ; bracchia, amplexus cape 
ubi membra sunt? ubi ilia quae mundum tulit 
stelligera cervix ? quis tibi exiguam tui 
partem reliquit ? 

1 So A : f pater Leo with E, conjecturing ac fera. 

2 So Richter : nascatur alius A: nascetur odium E: Leo 
conjectures nascatur opifer. 

290 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

fly thy bolt (I brook to perish by a woman's hand) ; 
oh, at last yielding, at last glutted, why still feed thy 
vengeance ? What seekest thou further ? Thou 
seest Alcides suppliant ; whereas no land, no monster 
has ever seen me begging thee for quarter. Now 
have I need of a wrathful, raging step-dame now 
has thy passion cooled ? Now dost lay by thy hate ? 
Thou sparest me when my prayer is all for death. 
O earth and cities of the earth, have ye none to 
bring torches 'gainst your Hercules, none to bring 
arms ? Do ye withhold weapons from me ? So l 
may no land produce savage monsters more when I 
am dead, and let the world ne'er ask for aid of 
mine ; if any evils rise, let avenger rise as well. 
From every side crush out my luckless life with 
stones, o'erwhelm my woes. O ungrateful world, 
dost falter? Hast quite forgotten me? E'en now 
wouldst thou be prey to ills and savage beasts hadst 
thou not borne me. Then, O ye peoples, rescue your 
champion from his woes. This chance is given you 
to requite my services death will be reward for all. 

[Enter ALCMENA.] 

ALCMENA 

What lands shall Alcides' wretched mother seek ? 
Where is my son, oh, where ? If mine eyes see 
aright, yonder he lies, panting and fever-tossed ; he 
groans, his life is at an end. In a last embrace let 
me enfold thee, O my son, and gather thy parting 
spirit in my mouth ; take my embracing arms to thine 
but where are thy limbs? Where is that star- 
bearing neck which propped the heavens up ? Who 
is it has left to thee but a shadow of thyself? 

1 i.e. according as ye grant my prayer. 

291 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

IIERCVLES 

Herculem spectas quidem, 
mater, sed umbram et vile nescio quid mei. 
agnosce, mater ora quid flectis retro 
voltumque mergis ? Herculem dici tuum 
partum erubescis ? 

ALCMENA 

Quis feram mundus novam, 

quae terra genu it ? quodve tarn dirum nefas 1350 
de te triumphal ? victor Herculeus quis est? 

HERCVLES 
Nuptae iacentem cernis Alciden dolis. 

ALCMENA 

Quis tantus est qui vincat Alciden dolus ? 

HERCVLES 

Quicumque, mater, feminae iratae sat est. 

ALCMENA 

Et unde in artus pestis aut ossa incidit ? 

HERCVLES 

Aditum venenis palla femineis dedit. 

ALCMENA 

Vbinam ista palla est ? membra nudata intuor. 

HERCVLES 

Coiisumpta mecum est. 

ALCMENA 

Tantane inventa est lues ? 
292 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

HERCULES 

Hercules thou seest indeed, my mother, but 'tis 
the shadow and the vile somewhat of myself. Behold 
me, mother why dost thou turn thine eyes away and 
hide thy face ? Art ashamed to have Hercules 
called thy son ? 

ALCMENA 

What world, what land has given birth to a fresh 
monster ? What so dread horror is triumphing over 
thee ? Who is a victor over Hercules ? 

HERCULES 

By his wife's wiles thou seest Alcides low. 

ALCMENA 

What wile is great enough to worst Alcides ? 

HERCULES 

Whatever, mother, suffices a woman's wrath. 

ALCMENA 

And how gained the pest entrance to thy joints 

and bones ? 

HERCULES 

A robe, poisoned by woman's hands, gave entrance 
to it. 

ALCMENA 

Where is that robe ? I see but naked limbs. 

HERCULES 

'Twas consumed with me. 



ALCMENA 

Was so destructive pestilence ever found ? 



293 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

HERCVLES 

Errare mediis crede visceribus meis, 
o mater, hydram et mille cum Lerna feras. 1360 

quae tanta nubes flamma Sicanias secat, 
quae Lemnos ardens, quae plaga igniferi poli 
vetans flagrant! currere in zona diem ? 
in ipsa me iactate, pro comites, freta 
mediosque in amnes quis sat est Hister mihi? 
non ipse terris maior Oceanus meos 
franget vapores, omnis in nostris mails 
deficiet umor, omnis arescet latex, 
quid, rector Erebi, me remittebas lovi ? 
decuit tenere ; redde me tenebris tuis, 1370 

talem subactis Herculem ostende inferis. 
nil inde ducam, quid times iterum Herculem? 
invade, mors, non trepida ; iam possum mori. 



ALCMENA 

Compesce lacrimas saltern et aerumnas doma 
malisque tantis Herculem indomitum refer 
mortemque differ ; quos soles vince inferos. 

HERCVLES 

Si me catenis horridus vinctum suis 
praeberet avidae Caucasus volucri dapem, 
Scythia gemente flebilis gemitus mihi 
non extitisset ; si vagae Symplegades 1380 

utraque premerent rupe, redeuntis miriax l 

1 So Richter : redeuntes fminas Leo with E, suggesting 
silens. 

1 i.e. the hydra. 

2 He compares these flames with the fires of Aetna. 

294. 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

HERCULES 

Believe me, mother, through my inmost parts the 
hydra is wandering and with the Lernaean one 1 a 
thousand savage beasts. What flames 2 as hot as 
these pierce the Sicilian clouds, what Lemnian fires, 
or heaven's burning tract, within whose scorching 
zone 3 the sun's path may not lie ? O comrades, 
throw me into the sea itself, into the river's midst- 
alas! what Hister is enough for me? Though 
greater than all lands, the Ocean itself will not cool 
my burning pains ; to ease my woe all water will dry 
up, all moisture fail. Why, ruler of Erebus, didst 
send me back to Jove ? Twere more seemly to have 
held me fast. To thy glooms restore me, and show 
such Hercules as this to the ghosts 4 I conquered. 
Naught will I take away ; why dost fear Hercules a 
second time ? Assail me, Death, and fear not ; now 
do I brook to die. 

ALCMENA 

Restrain thy tears, at least, master thy pains ; even 
to such woes show Hercules invincible ; put death 
away ; conquer the lords of hell as is thy wont. 

HERCULES 

If rugged Caucasus should offer me, bound by its 
chains, as a feast to greedy birds, 5 while Scythia 
mourned around, no doleful cry would issue from my 
lips ; should the wandering Symplegades crush me 
'twixt both their cliffs, their returning rushes would 

3 i.e. the space between the ecliptic and the celestial 
equator. 

4 All the creatures he conquered on earth are now ghosts 
in the lower world. 

6 He is thinking of the sufferings of Prometheus. 

295 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

ferrem ruinas ; Pindus incumbat mihi 

atque Haeinus et qui Thracios fluctus Athos 

frangit lovisque fulmen excipiens Mimas; 

non ipse si in me, mater, hie mundus ruat 

superque nostros flagret incensus toros 

Phoebeus axis, degener mentem Herculis 

clamor domaret. mille decurrant ferae 

pariterque lacerent, hinc feris clangoribus 

aetheria me Stymphalis, hinc taurus minax 1390 

cervice tota pulset et quidquid fuit 

solum quoque ingens ; surgat hinc illinc nemus 

artusque nostros durus immittat Sinis : 

sparsus silebo non ferae excutient mihi, 

non arma gemitus, nil quod impelli potest. 

ALCMENA 

Non virus artus, nate, femineum coquit, 
sed dura series operis et longus tibi 
pavit cruentos forsitan morbos labor. 

HERCVLES 

Vbi morbus, ubinam est ? estne adhuc aliquid mali 
in orbe mecum ? veniat ; hue aliquis mihi 1400 

intendat arcus nuda sufficiet manus. 
procedat agedum hue. 

ALCMENA 

Ei mihi, sensum quoque 
excussit ille nimius impulsans dolor. 

296 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

I bear, defiant ; were Pindus lying on me, and 
Haemus, and Athos which resists the Thracian 
waves, and Mimas which welcomes the bolts of 
Jupiter ; mother, if even this sky should fall upon 
my head, and over my shoulders the fiery car of 
Phoebus should go flaming, no coward cry would 
subdue Alcides' soul. * Though a thousand beasts at 
once should rush against me and rend me sore ; 
though here from the skies Stymphalus' bird, 
swooping with clangour wild, and there with full 
strength the threatening bull should push upon me, 
and whatever huge monster has sprung from earth ; 
though Sinis' groves should arise this side and that, 
and the rough giant shoot my limbs ] afar ; rent limb 
from limb, still will I hold my peace no beasts, no 
arms, naught that can be met and vanquished shall 
extort one groan from me. 

ALCMENA 

Son, 'tis no woman's poison melts thy frame ; but 
thy hard round of labours, thine unceasing toil, per- 
chance has fed some deadly disease in thee. 

HERCULES 

Disease? Where is it? Where is it, pray? Is 
there still aught of evil in the world with me alive ? 
Let it come on ; let some one reach hither my bow 
to me nay, my bare hands will be enough. Let it 
come on, I say. [He sinks into a deep, swoon-Like 
slumber.] 

ALCMENA 

Alas ! the too great shock of agony hath reft e'en 
his sense away. [Yb attendants.] Remove his weapons, 

1 See Index .u. " Sinis. " 

297 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

removete quaeso tela et infestas precor 

rapite hinc sagittas : igne suffuso genae 

seel us minantur. quas petam latebras anus ? 

dolor iste furor est : Herculem solus domat. 

cur deinde latebras aut fugam vaecors petam ? 

obire forti meruit Alcmene manu : 

vel scelere pereat, antequam letum mihi 1410 

ignavus aliquis niaiidet l ac turpis manus 

de me triumphet. 

Ecce lassatus mails 
sopore fessas alligat venas dolor 
gravique anhelum pectus impulsu quatit. 
favete, superi. si mihi riatum inclutum 
miserae negastis, vindicem saltern precor 
servate terris. abeat excussus dolor 
corpusque vires reparet Herculeum suas. 

HYLLVS 

Pro lux acerba, pro capax scelerum dies ! 
minis Tonaiitis occidit, natus iacet, 1420 

nepos supersum ; scelere materno hie perit, 
fraude ilia capta est. quis per annorum vices 
totoque in aevo poterit aerumnas senex 
referre tantas ? unus eripuit dies 
parentem utrumque ; cetera ut sileam mala 
parcamque fatis, Herculem amitto patrem, 

ALCMENA 

Compesce voces, inclutum Alcidae genus 
miseraeque fato similis Alcmenae nepos : 
longus dolorem forsitan vincet sopor. 

1 So A : mandat . . . triumphal Leo with E. 
298 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

take these deadly shafts out of his reach, I pray you ; 
his burning cheeks portend some violence. Where 
shall an old woman hide herself? That is the smart 
of madness ; it alone masters Hercules. But why 
should I, foolish that I am, seek flight or hiding ? By 
a brave hand Alcmena deserves to die ; so let me 
perish even impiously, before some craven decree my 
death, or a base hand triumph over me. 

1412 But see, all spent with woe, his pain holds his 
worn heart fast bound in slumber, and his panting 
chest heaves with laboured breathing. Help him, ye 
gods ! If to my misery ye have denied my glorious 
son, at least spare to the world, I pray, its champion. 
May his smart be driven quite away, and the body of 
Hercules renew its strength. 

[Enter HYLLUS.] 

HYLLUS 

bitter light, O crime-filled day! Dead is the 
Thunderer's daughter. 1 his son lies dying, and I, his 
grandson, still survive. By my mother's crime is he 
perishing, but she was by guile ensnared. What 
aged man, throughout his round of years, in his 
whole life, will be able to recount woes so great ? 
Both parents has one day taken off; to say naught 
of other ills and to spare the fates, 2 Hercules, my 
father, am I losing. 

ALCMENA 

Restrain thy words, child of illustrious sire, 
wretched Alcmena's grandson, like her in fate; per- 
chance long slumber will o'ercome his pains. But 

1 Dei'anira, who has just killed herself offstage. 

2 i.e. not to speak too hardly of them by recounting all 
their cruelty. 

299 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 
sed ecce, lassam deserit mentem quies 1 4-30 

redditque morbo corpus et luctum raihi. 

HERCVLES 

Quid hoc ? rigenti cernitur Trachin iugo 
aut inter astra positus evasi genus 
mortal e tandem ? quis mihi caelum parat ? 
te te, pater, iam video, placatam quoque 
specto novercam. quis sonus nostras ferit 
caelestis aures ? luno me generum vocat ! 
video nitentem regiam clari aetheris 
Phoebique tritam flammea zonam rota, 
cubile video Noctis ; hinc tenebrae vocant. 1 144-0 

Quid hoc ? quis arcem cludit et ab ipsis, pater, 
deducit astris ? ora Phoebeus modo 
afflabat axis, iam prope a caelo fui 
Trachina video, quis mihi terras dedit ? 
Oete modo infra steterat ac totus fuit 
suppositus orbis. quam bene excideras, dolor I 
cogis fateri parce et hanc vocem occupa. 

Hoc, Hylle, dona matris hoc munus parant. 
utinam liceret stipite ingesto impiam 
efFringere animam quale Amazonium malum 1450 
circa nivalis Caucasi domui latus. 
o cara Megara, tune cum furerem mihi 
coniunx fuisti ? stipitem atque arcus date, 

1 So Richter with MSS. order; Leo reads this line after 
U44. 
300 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

see, repose is deserting his weary heart, and gives 
back his frame to suffering, me to grief. 

HERCULES [awakening in delirium] 

Why, what is this ? Do I see Trachin midst her 
rugged hills, or have I, set 'mongst the stars, at last 
left behind the race of men ? Who opens heaven for 
me ? Thee, thee, my father, now do I behold, and 
my step- dame also, at last appeased, I see. What 
heavenly sound strikes on mine ears ? Juno calls 
me son ! I see bright heaven's gleaming palace, and 
the track worn by Phoebus' burning wheels. I see 
Night's couch ; her shadows call me hence. 
[Begins to come out of his delirium.] 

1441 But what is this ? Who shuts heaven's gates 
to me, O father, and draws me down even from the 
stars ? But now the car of Phoebus breathed hot 
upon my face, now was I near to heaven but I see 
Trachin. Who has given me earth again ? A 
moment since, and Oeta stood below me, and the 
whole world lay beneath my feet. How well, O 
pain, hadst thou fallen from me ! Thou compellest 
me to confess but stay, forestall that word. 1 

[7b HYLLUS.] 

H48 o Hyllus, this, this is thy mother's boon, her 
gift to me. Would that with lifted club I might 
crush out her wicked life just as I smote down the 
Amazonian pest - upon the slopes of snowy Caucasus. 
O well-loved Megara, wast thou wife 3 to me when 
madness came upon me ? Give me my club and 

1 He thus checks himself on the brink of an unmanly 
confession of his weakness. 

2 i.e. the Amazons themselves. 

3 It should have been Delanira. 

301 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

dextra inquinetur, laudibus maculam imprimam, 
summus legatur femina Herculeus labor. 

HYLLVS 

Compesce diras, genitor, irarum minas ; 
habet, peractum est, quas petis poenas dedit ; 
sua perempta dextera mater iacet. 

HERCVLES 

Cecidit dolose 1 ; manibus irati Herculis 
occidere meruit ; perdidit comitem Lichas. 1 4-60 

saevire in ipsum corpus exanime impetus 
atque ira cogit. cur minis nostris caret 
ipsum cadaver ? pabulum accipiant ferae. 

HYLLVS 

Plus misera laeso doluit ; hinc aliquid quoque 
detrahere velles. occidit dextra sua, 
tuo dolore ; plura quam poscis tulit. 
sed non cruentae sceleribus nuptae iaces 
nee fraude matris ; Nessus hos struxit dolos 
ictus sagittis qui tuis vitam expuit. 
cruore tincta est palla semiferi, pater, 1470 

Nessusque nunc has exigit poeiias sibi. 

HERCVLES 

Habet, peractum est, fata se nostra explicant ; 
lux ista summa est. quercus hanc sortem mihi 

1 So Richter: relicte dolor es Leo: caeci dolores A : recte 
dolor es E : iacet ? ei dolori est Ptiper. 

302 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

bow, let my right hand be defiled, let me put stain 
upon my glory, and let a woman be chosen as the last 
toil of Hercules. 

HYLLUS 

Check the dire threatenings of thy wrath, my 
father ; she has it, 1 'tis over, the penalty which thou 
desirest she has paid ; slain by her own hand, my 
mother lies in death. 

HERCULES 

Treacherously has she fallen ; by the hands of 
enraged Hercules should she have died ; Lichas has 
lost a comrade. I am moved to rage e'en 'gainst 
her lifeless body, and wrath impels me. Why is 
even her corpse safe from my assaults ? Let the 
wild beasts make banquet on it. 

HYLLUS 

The unhappy woman has suffered more than him 
she injured ; somewhat still of this thou wouldst 
wish to lighten. By her own hand has she fallen, 
through grief for thee ; more suffering than thou 
demandest has she borne. But 'tis not by crimes of 
a murderous wife, nor by my mother's guile, thou 
liest low ; Nessus contrived this snare, who, by thine 
arrow smit, spewed out his life. Father, 'twas in 
that half-beast's gore the robe was dipped, and 
Nessus by these thy sufferings doth requite his 
own. 

HERCULES 

'Tis well, 2 'tis over, my fate unfolds itself; this is 
my last day on earth. This oracle the prophetic 

1 The formula of the gladiatorial contest when one of the 
contestants has received his death stroke. 

2 See note on 1. 1457. 

303 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 
fatidica quondam dederat et Parnassio 
Cirrhaea quatiens templa mugitu specus : 
" dextra perempti victor, Alcide, viri 
olim iacebis ; hie tibi emenso freta 
terrasque et umbras finis extremus datur." 
nil querimtir ultra ; decuit hunc finem dari, 
ne quis superstes Herculis victor foret. 1480 

nunc mors legatur clara memoranda incluta, 
me digna prorsus. nobilem hunc faciam diem, 
caedatur omnis silva et Oetaeum nemus 
conripite, ut ingens Herculem accipiat rogus, 
sed ante mortem, tu, genus Poeantium, 
hoc triste nobis, iuvenis, officium appara ; 
Herculea totum flamma succendat diem. 

Ad te preces nunc, Hylle, supremas fero. 
est clara captas inter, in voltu genus 
regnumque referens, Euryto virgo edita 14-90 

lole. tuis hanc facibus et thalamis para, 
victor cruentus abstuli patriam lares 
nihilque miserae praeter Alciden dedi ; 
et ipse rapitur. penset aerumnas suas, 
lovis nepotem foveat et natum Herculis ; 
tibi ilia pariat quidquid ex nobis habet. 

Tuque ipsa planctus pone funereos, precor, 
o clara genetrix ; vivit Alcides tibi. 
virtute nostra paelicem feci tuam 

1 The oracle of the talking oaks, sacred to Jupiter, was at 
Dodona, in Kpirus ; the oracle of Apollo at Delphi was in 
Phocis, on Mount Parnassus. The poet either means that 

304 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

oak l once gave me, and the Parnassian grot, 1 shaking 
the shrines of Cirrha with rumbling tones, declared : 
" By the hand of one whom, conquering, thou hast 
slain, Alcides, one day shalt thou lie low ; this end, 
when thou hast traversed seas and lands and shades, 
awaits thee at the last." We complain no more ; 
such end was meet, that no living thing might 
conquer Hercules. Now let me choose a death 
glorious, renowned, illustrious, full worthy of myself. 
This day will I make famous. Go, cut down all the 
woods, heap Oeta's grove together, that a mighty 
pyre may receive Hercules, and that before he dies. 
Thou, son 2 of Poeas, dear youth, perform this sad 
office for me ; set the whole sky aglow with the 
flames of Hercules. 

1488 And now to thee, Hyllus, I bring my latest 
prayer. Among the captives is a beauteous maid, in 
feature revealing her race and royal state, iole, 
daughter of king Eurytus. Lead her to thy 
chamber with wedding torch. Victorious, blood- 
stained, I robbed her of her fatherland and home, 
and to the wretched girl gave naught except 
Alcides ; and now e'en he is reft from her. Let her 
find recompense for her sorrows, and cherish Jove's 
grandson and the son of Hercules ; to thee be born 
whatever seed she has conceived by me. 

[To ALCMENA.] 

1497 Do thou thyself cease thy death-wails for me, 
I pray, illustrious mother ; thy Alcides lives ; by my 
heroic deeds have I made my step-dame seem but 

two oracles foretold the same fate, or simply mingles the two 
references by way of emphasis on the oracular utterance 
itself. 

2 Philoctetea. 

305 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

credi novercam. sive nascente Hercule .. 1500 

nox ilia certa est sive mortalis meus 

pater est licet sit falsa progenies mei, 1 

merui parentem ; contuli caelo decus 

materque me concepit in laudes lovis. 

quin ipse, quamquam luppiter, credi meus 

pater esse gaudet. parce iam lacrimis, parens ; 

superba matres inter Argolicas eris. 

quid tale luno genuit aetherium gerens 

sceptrum et Tonanti nupta ? mortali tamen J510 

caelum tenens invidit, Alciden suum 

dici esse voluit. 

Perage nunc, Titan, vices 
solus relictus ; ille qui vester comes 
ubique fueram, Tartara et manes peto. 
hanc tamen ad imos perferam laudem inclutam, 
quod nulla pestis fudit Alciden palam 
omnemque pestem vicit Alcides palam. 

CHORVS 

O decus mundi, radiate Titan, 
cuius ad primes Hecate vapores 
lassa nocturnae levat ora bigae, 1520 

die sub Aurora positis Sabaeis, 
die sub occasu positis Hiberis, 
quique sub plaustro patiuntur ursae 
quique ferventi quatiuntur axe, 
die sub aeternos properare manes 
1 Leo deletes 1. 1503 : materna culpa cesset et crimen lovis. 

1 By bearing such a son to Jove, Alcmena is proved to be 
real wife, and Juno the mistress. 

3C6 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

the concubine. 1 Whether the tale 2 of the night of 
Hercules' begetting be the truth, or whether my sire 
be mortal 3 though I be falsely called the son of 
Jove, I have deserved to be his son ; glory on heaven 
have I conferred, and to Jove's glory did my mother 
bring me forth. Nay, he himself, though he be 
Jupiter, is glad to be believed my sire. Dry now 
thy tears, my mother; proud 'mongst the Grecian 
mothers shalt thou be. What son like thine has 
Juno borne, though she wield the sceptre of the 
skies, and be the Thunderer's bride ? Still, though 
queen of heaven, she envied a mortal woman, and 
wished that Alcides might be called her own. 

1512 Now, O Sun, must thou speed thy course 
alone, for I, who have been thy companion every- 
where, am bound for Tartarus and the land of 
shades. Yet to the depths shall I bear this glorious 
fame, that no pest openly has laid Alcides low, 
and that all pests openly has Alcides slain. 

[He goes out toward the pyre which has been prepared for 

him.] 

CHORUS 

O glory of the world, O ray-girt Sun, at whose 
first warmth Hecate loosens the bits from the weary 
steeds of her nocturnal car, tell the Sabaeans who 
lie beneath the dawn, tell the Iberians who lie 
beneath thy setting, tell those who suffer 'neath the 
Wagon of the Bear, 4 and those who pant beneath 
thy burning car : Hercules is hasting to the endless 

2 See Index s.v. " Hercules," at beginning. 
* i.e. Amphitryon. 

4 This northern constellation is either the Wain (wagon) 
or the Bear. The poet confuses the two conceptions. 

307 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Herculem et regnum canis inquieti, 

unde non umquam remeabit ille. 1 

sume quos nubes radios sequantur, 

pallid us maestas speculare terras 

et caput turpes nebulae pererrent. 1530 

quando, pro Titan, ubi, quo sub axe 

Herculem in terris alium sequeris ? 

quas manus orbis miser invocabit, 

si qua sub Lerna numerosa pestis 

sparget in centum rabiem dracones, 

Arcadum si quis populis vetustis 

fecerit silvas aper inquietas, 

Thraciae si quis Rhodopes alumnus 

durior terris Helices nivosae 

sparget humano stabulum cruore ? 1540 

quis dabit pacem populo timenti, 

si quid irati superi per orbem 

iusserint nasci ? iacet omnibus par, 

quern parem tell us genuit Tonanti. 

planctus immensas resonet per urbes 

et comas nullo cohibente nodo 

feminae exertos feriant lacertos, 

solaque obductis foribus deorum 

templa securae pateant novercae. 

Vadis ad Lethen Stygiumque litus, 1550 
unde te nullae referent carinae ; 
vadis ad manes miserandus, unde 
Morte devicta tuleras triumphum, 
umbra nudatis veniens lacertis 
languido vultu tenuique collo ; 
teque non solum feret ilia puppis 2 

1 So Richter : unde non umquam remeavit ullus A : Leo 
funde non numquam remeavit inde with E, Leo conjecturing 
denuo numquam remeabit inde. 

3 Peiper notes a lacuna after I. 1556, which Leo thus sup- 
plies: quae tulit solum metuitque mergi. 

308 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

shades, to the realm of sleepless Cerberus, whence 
he will never more return. Let thy bright rays be 
overcast with clouds ; gaze on the grieving world 
with pallid face and let disfiguring mists roam o'er 
thy head. When, O Titan, where, beneath what 
sky wilt thou follow another Hercules on the earth ? 
To whose aid will the wretched world appeal if 
within Lerna's swamp some many-headed pest in a 
hundred snakes shall spread its poisonous rage ; if 
for the ancient tribes of Arcady some boar shall 
disturb the quiet of the woods ; if some son l of 
Thracian Rhodope, harder than the ground of snow- 
clad Helice, shall spatter his stalls with the blood of 
men ? Who to the trembling nations will give peace, 
if the angry gods shall raise up new monsters o'er 
the world ? Level with all men he lies, 2 whom 
earth produced level with the Thunderer. Through 
countless cities let cries of brief resound ; let 
women with streaming hair smite their bare arms ; 
let the temples of all gods be closed save his step- 
dame's only, for she only is free from care. 

1550 Thou farest to Lethe and the Stygian shore 
whence no keel will ever bring thee back ; thou 
farest, lamented one, unto the ghosts whence, over- 
coming Death, thou didst once return in triumph, 
now but a shade, with fieshless arms, wan face and 
drooping neck ; nor will that skiff, which once bore 
thee alone and feared 'twould be plunged beneath 

1 Like Diomedes, the bloody tyrant of Thrace. 

2 i.e. brought to the common level by death. 

309 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

non tamen viles eris inter umbras, 

Aeacon l inter geminosque Gretas 

facta discernens, feriens tyrannos. 

parcite, o elites, inhibete dextras. 1560 

laudis est purum tenuisse ferrum, 

cumque regnabas, minus in procellis 

in tuas urbes licuisse fatis. 

Sed locum virtus habet inter astra. 
sedis arctoae spatium tenebis 
an graves Titan ubi promit aestus ? 
an sub occasu tepido nitebis, 
unde commisso resonare ponto 
audies Calpen ? loca quae sereni 
deprimes caeli ? quis erit recepto 1 570 

tutus Alcide locus inter astra ? 
horrido tantum procul a leone 
det pater sedes calidoque cancro, 
ne tuo vultu tremefacta leges 
astra conturbent trepidetque Titan, 
vere dum flores venient tepenti 
et comam silvis hiemes recident, 
vel comam silvis revocabit aestas 
pomaque autumno fugiente cedent, 
nulla te terris rapiet vetustas ; 1580 

tu comes Phoebo, comes ibis astris. 
ante nascetur seges in profundo 
vel fretum dulci resonabit unda, 
ante descendet glacialis ursae 
sidus et ponto vetito fruetur, 
quam tuas laudes populi quiescant. 

Te, pater rerum, miseri precamur : 
nulla nascatur fera, nulla pestis, 
non duces saevos miseranda tellus 
horreat, nulla dominetur aula 1590 

1 So Oronovius : Aeacos Leo with E : Aeacumque A. 
310 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

the waves, 1 bear thee alone. And yet thou shall 
not dwell midst common shades ; midst Aeacus and 
the two Cretans 2 shalt thou be, sitting in judgment 
on men's deeds, scourging tyrannic kings. Spare, O 
ye mighty, restrain your hands. 'Tis thy praise to 
have kept the sword unstained and that, what time 
thou didst bear sway, fate midst its storms had less 
power against thy cities. 

1564 But now has thy manhood place amongst the 
stars. Wilt occupy the spaces of the north, or 
where Titan sends forth his oppressive rays ? Or in 
the warm western sky wilt shine, where thou wilt 
hear Calpe resound with the charging sea? What 
region of the cloudless heavens wilt thou weigh 
down? What place, when Alcides comes, will be 
safe amidst the stars ? Only may Jove give thee thy 
seat far from the dread Lion and the burning Crab, 
lest at sight of thee the affrighted stars make turmoil 
of their laws and Titan tremble. While flowers shall 
bloom as the spring days grow warm ; while winter 
shall strip the foliage from the trees, and summer to 
the trees recall their foliage ; while fruits shall fall as 
autumn takes his flight, no lapse of time shall snatch 
thee from the world ; comrade of Phoebus, comrade 
of the stars, shalt thou pass on. Sooner shall wheat 
sprout from the surface of the deep ; sooner the 
roaring waves of the sea be sweet ; sooner shall the 
icy Bear come down and enjoy the forbidden waters, 
than shall the nations be silent of thy praise. 

1587 To thee, father of all, in wretchedness we 
pray : let no dread beast be born, no pest ; from the 
fear of savage kings keep this poor world free ; let 
no one lord it in palace hall who deems it the sole 



1 Translating Leo's suggested line. 
* Minos and Rhadamanthus. 



311 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

qui putet solum decus esse regni 
semper impensum tenuisse ferrum. 
si quid in terris iterum timetur, 
vindicem terrae petimus relictae. 

Heu quid hoc ? mundus sonat. ecce maeret, 
maeret Alciden pater ; an deorum 
clamor, an vox est timidae novercae ? 
Hercule an viso fugit astra luno ? 
passus an pondus titubavit Atlas? 
an magis diri tremuere manes 1600 

Herculem et visum canis iiiferorum 
fugit abruptis trepidus catenis ? 
fallimur ; laeto venit ecce voltu 
quern tulit Poeans umerisque tela 
gestat et notas populis pharetras, 
Herculis heres. 

Eflfare casus, iuvenis, Herculeos precor 
voltuque quonam tulerit Alcides riecem. 

PHILOCTETES 1 

Quo nemo vitam. 

CHORVS 

Laetus adeone ultimos 
invasit ignes ? 

PHILOCTETES 

Esse iam flammas nihil 1610 

ostendit ille. quid sub hoc mundo Hercules 
immune vinci liquit ? en domita oninia. 

CHORVS 
Inter vapores quis fuit forti locus ? 

1 The dialogue, throughout this scene is given by Leo and 
Rirhfer to Xuntius and Chorus, fo/lo>nng E\ to Nutrix and 
PhUoctetes A ; since the messenger is obviously Philoctetes (see 

312 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

glory of his realm to have held the sword e'er 
threatening. If some dread thing should come 
again to earth, oh, give to forsaken earth a champion. 
1595 But what is this ? The universe resounds. 
Behold, he mourns, the father mourns Alcides ; or is 
it the outcry of the gods or the voice of his frighted 
step-dame ? At the sight of Hercules does Juno flee 
the stars? Under the mighty weight has Atlas 
staggered? Or is it that the awful ghosts have 
trembled and at sight of Hercules the hell-hound in 
affright has broken his chains and fled ? No, we are 
wrong ; behold with joyful face comes Poeas' son 
and on his shoulders he bears the shafts and the 
quiver known to all, the heir of Hercules. 

[Enter PHILOCTETES.] 

1607 Speak out, good youth, and tell the end of 
Hercules, I pray, and with what countenance Alcides 
bore his death. 

PHILOCTETES 

With such as none e'er bore his life. 

CHORUS 
So joyous did he mount his funeral pyre ? 

PHILOCTETES 

He showed that now flames were as naught to 
him. What 'neath the heavens has Hercules left 
by defeat unscathed ? Lo, all things have been 
subdued. 

CHORUS 

Midst the hot flames what room was there for 
valour ? 

I. 1604) and there is no pertinency in the introduction of the 
nurse, we have given the dialogue to Philoctetes and the Chorus. 

313 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

PHILOCTKTES 

Quod unum in orbe vicerat nondum malum, 
et flamma victa est ; haec quoque accessit feris : 
inter labores ignis Herculeos abit. 

CHORVS 
Edissere agedum, flamma quo victa est modo ? 

PHILOCTETES 

Vt omnis Oeten maesta corripuit manus, 
huic fagus umbras perdit et toto iacet 
succissa trunco, flectit hie pinum ferox 1620 

astris minantein et nube de media vocat ; 
ruitura cautem movit et silvam tulit 
secum minorem. Chaonis qualis loquax 
stat vasta late quercus et Phoebum vetat 
ultraque totos porrigit ramos manus ; 
gemit ilia multo volnere impresso ininax 
frangitque cuneos, resilit incussus chalybs 
volnusque ferrum patitur et rigidum est parum. 
commota tandem cum cadens latam sui 
duxit ruinam, protinus radios locus 630 

admisit omnes ; sedibus pulsae suis 
volucres pererrant nemore succiso diem 
quaeruntque lassis garrulae pinnis domus. 
iamque omnis arbor sonuit et sacrae quoque 
sensere quercus horridam ferro manum 
nullique priscum profuit luco nemus. 
aggeritur omnis silva et alternae trabes 
in astra tollunt Herculi angustum rogum : 



1 See Index s.v. "Chaoiiian Oaks." 

2 Oak-trees were especially sacred to Jove. 

314 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

PHILOCTETES 

The one enemy on earth which he had not o'ei- 
come, e'en fire, is vanquished ; this also has been 
added to the beasts ; fire has taken its place midst 
the toils of Hercules. 

CHORUS 

But tell us, in what wise were the flames o'er- 
come ? 

PHILOCTETES 

When the whole sorrowing band fell upon Oeta's 
woods, by the hands of one the beech-tree lost its 
shade and lay full length, hewn to the ground ; one 
fiercely felled a pine-tree, towering to the stars, and 
from the clouds' midst he summoned it ; in act to 
fall, it shook the rocky slope and with itself brought 
down the lesser woods. A huge oak stood, wide 
spreading, such as Chaonia's oak 1 of prophecy, ex- 
cluding the light of day and stretching its branches 
far beyond all the grove. Threat'ning it groaned, 
by many a blow beset, and broke the wedges ; back 
bounded the smiting steel ; its edge was dulled, too 
soft for such a task. When the tree, at last dis- 
lodged, falling, brings widespread ruin down, straight- 
way the place lets in the sun's full rays ; the birds, 
driven from their perches, flit aimless through the 
day midst the felled grove, and, loudly complaining, 
with wearied wings seek for their nests. And now 
every tree resounded, and even the sacred oaks 2 felt 
the dread steel-armed hand, and its ancient woods 
availed no holy grove. 3 The whole forest was piled 
into a heap ; and the logs, starward in layers rising, 
made all too small a pyre for Hercules the pine- 

8 A deep, primeval forest, for ages left untouched, had 
acquired a special sanctity. 

315 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

raptura flammas pinus et robur tenax 

et brevior ilex silva ; sed complet rogum 1640 

populea silva, frontis Herculeae decus. 

At ille, ut ingens nemore sub Nasamonio 
aegro reclinis pectore immugit leo, 
fertur quis ilium credat ad flammas rapi ? 
voltus petentis astra, non ignes erat, 
ut pressit Oeten ac suis oculis rogum 
lustravit omnem. fregit impositus trabes. 
arcus poposcit. "accipe haec " inquit, "sate 
Poeante, dona et munus Alcidae cape, 
has hydra sensit, his iacent Stymphalides 16.50 

et quidquid aliud eminus vici malum. 
virtute felix, 1 iuvenis, has numquam irritas 
mittes in hostem ; sive de media voles 
auferre volucres nube, descendent aves 
et certa praedae tela de caelo fluent, 
nee fallet umquam dexteram hie arcus tuam. 
librare tela didicit et certam dare 
fugam sagittis, ipsa non fallunt iter 
emissa nervo tela. tu tantum precor 
accommoda ignes et facem extremam mihi. 1660 

hie nodus " inquit " nulla quern cepit manus, 
mecum per ignes flagret ; hoc telum Herculem 
tantum sequetur. hoc quoque acciperes ' ait 
"si ferre posses, adiuvet domini rogum." 
turn rigida secum spolia Nemeaei mail 
arsura poscit ; latuit in spolio rogus. 

Jngemuit omnis turba nee lacrimas dolor 
cuiquam remisit. mater in luctum furens 
diduxit avidum pectus atque utero tenus 

So Gronorius with $- : fvictrice felix Leo with E : victure 
felix. has enim numquam irritas A : his utere felix Peiper : 
arguing from sive (1653) Leo thinks the other alternative mtist 
have begun in 1. 165.1 with some such words as sive eria in acie. 

316 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

tree, quick to burn, the tough-fibred oak, the ilex 
of shorter trunk ; but poplar wood, whose foliage 
adorns Alcides' brow, filled out the pyre. 

1(542 But he, like some huge, suffering lion, which, 
in Libyan forest lying, roars out his pain, hurried 
along, who would suppose him hasting to the 
flames ? His gaze was of one who seeks the stars, 
not fires of earth, when he set foot on Oeta and 
with his eyes surveyed the pyre complete. The 
great beams broke beneath him. Then for his 
shafts and bow he called, and said : " Take these, 
thou son of Poeas, take them as Alcides' gift and 
pledge of love. These did the Hydra feel ; by 
these the StymphaJian birds lie low, and all other 
pests which at distance I overcame. O youth with 
valour blest, never in vain shalt thou send these 
'gainst a foe ; or if birds from the very clouds thou 
wouldst fetch away, birds will fall down, and out of 
the sky will thy shafts, sure of their prey, come 
floating; and ne'er will this bow disappoint thy 
hand. Well has it learned to poise the feathered 
shafts and unerringly send them flying ; while the 
shafts themselves, loosed from the string, fail never 
to find their mark. Only do thou, I pray, apply the 
fire and set the last torch for me. Let this club," 
he said, " which no hand but mine has wielded, burn 
in the flames with me ; this weapon alone shall 
follow Hercules. This also shouldst thou have," 
said he, " if thou couldst wield it. Let it add fuel 
to its master's pyre." Then did he call for the 
Nemean monster's shaggy skin to burn with him ; 
'neath the skin the pyre was hidden. 

1607 The whole throng set up a lamentation, and 
sorrow filled the eyes of all with tears. His mother, 
passionate in grief, her eager bosom stript, and she 

317 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

exerta vastos ubera in planctus ferit, 1670 

superosque et ipsum vocibus pulsans lovem 

implevit omneni voce feminea locum. 

" deforme letum, mater, Herculeum facis ; 

compesce lacrimas" inquit, " introrsus dolor 

femineus abeat. luno cur laetum diem 

te flente ducat? paelicis gaudet suae 

spectare lacrimas. comprime infiraium iecur, 

mater ; nefas est ubera atque uterum tibi 

laniare, qui me genuit." et dirum fremens, 

qualis per urbes duxit Argolicas canem, 1680 

cum victor Erebi Dite contempto redit 

tremente fato, talis incubuit rogo. 

quis sic triumphans laetus in curru stetit 

victor ? quis illo gentibus voltu dedit 

leges tyrannus ? quanta pax habitum tulit ! 

haesere lacrimae, cecidit impulsus dolor 

nobis quoque ipsis, nemo periturum ingemit. 

iam flere pudor est ; ipsa quam sexus iubet 

maerere, siccis haesit Alcmene genis 

stetitque nato paene iam similis parens. 1690 



CHORVS 

Nullasne in astra misit ad superos preces 
arsurus aut in vota respexit lovem ? 



PHILOCTETES 

lacuit sui securus et caelum intuens 
quaesivit oculis, parte an ex aliqua pater 
despiceret ilium, turn manus tendens ait : 
" quacumque parte prospicis natum pater 
(iste est pater, cui nocte commissa dies 

318 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

smote her breasts, naked e'en to the waist, in endless 
lamentation ; and with her cries assailing the gods 
and Jove himself, she filled all the region round 
with womanish bewailings. " Mother/' he said, 
"thou dost disgrace the death of Hercules ; restrain 
thy tears and confine thy womanish grief within thy 
heart. Why for thy weeping should Juno count this 
day joyful ? For she rejoices to see her rival's tears. 
Curb thy faint heart, my mother ; 'tis a sin to tear 
the breasts and the womb that bore Alcides." Then 
with dread mutterings, as when through Argive 
towns he dragged the dog, what time, triumphant 
over hell, in scorn of Dis and trembling death he 
returned to earth, so did he lay him down upon the 
pyre. What victor ever stood in his chariot so joy- 
fully triumphant? What tyrant king with such a 
countenance ever gave laws to nations ? How calmly 
he bore his fate ! Even our tears were stayed, griefs 
shock subsided, none grieves that he must perish. 
Now were we 'shamed to weep ; Alcmena, herself, 
whose sex impels to mourning, stood with dry cheeks, 
a mother now well-nigh equal to her son. 

CHORUS 

Sent he no supplications heavenward to the gods 
e'er the fire was lit ? Looked he not to Jove to hear 
his prayers ? 

PHILOCTETES 

Careless of self he lay and, gazing at heaven, 
quested with his eyes whether from any quarter his 
sire looked down at him. Then, with hands out- 
stretched, he spoke: "O father, from what quarter 
soe'er thou lookest on thy son, (he truly is my 
father, for whose sake night joined with day and one 

319 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

quievit unus), si meas laudes canit 

utrumque Phoebi litus et Scythiae genus 

et oninis ardens ora quam torret dies, 1700 

si pace tellus plena, si nullae gemunt 

urbes nee aras impias quisquam inquinat, 

si scelera desunt, spiritum admitte hunc precoi 

in astra. non me mortis infernae locus 

nee maesta nigri regna conterrent lovis ; 

sed ire ad illos umbra, quos vici, deos, 

pater, erubesco. nube discussa diem 

pande, ut deorum voltus ardeiitem Herculem 

spectet ; licet tu sidera et mundum neges, 

ultro, pater, cogere si voces dolor 1710 

abstulerit ullas, pande turn Stygios lacus 

et redde fatis ; approba natum prius. 

ut dignus astris videar, hie faciet dies. 

leve est quod actum est ; Herculem hie, genitor, dies 

inveniet aut damnabit." 

Haec postquam edidit, 1715 

flammas poposcit. "hoc age, Alcidae comes 1717 
non segnis " inquit " corripe Oetaeam facem ; 
noverca cernat quo feram flammas modo. 1 171 6 

quid dextra tremuit? num manus pavida impium 171.9 
scelus refugit ? redde iam pharetras mihi, 1720 

ignave iners inermis en nostros manus 
quae tendat arcus ! quid sedet pallor genis? 
animo faces invade quo Alciden vides 
voltu iacere. respice arsurum, miser. 

Vocat ecce iam me genitor et pandit polos, 
venio, pater." voltusque non idem fuit. 
tremente pinum dextera ardentem impuli ; 2 



1 Leo deletes this line, with E : Richter, following Gronovius 
places it after I. 1718. 

2 So A : Leo impulit with E. 

320 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

day ceased to be,) if both the bounds of Phoebus 
sing my praise, the tribes of Scythia and every burn- 
ing strand which daylight parches; if peace fills all 
the earth ; if no cities groan and no man stains with 
sin his altar-fires ; if crimes have ceased, admit this 
soul, I pray thee, to the stars. I have no fear of the 
infernal realm of death, nor do the sad realms" of 
dusky Jove l affright me ; but to go, naught but a 
shade, to those gods I overcame, O sire, I am 
ashamed. Dispel the clouds, spread wide the day, 
that the eyes of gods may gaze on burning Hercules. 
Though thou deny me stars and a place in heaven, 
O sire, thou shalt even be compelled ah ! if pain 
will excuse any words 2 of mine, then open the 
Stygian pools and give me to death again ; but prove 
me first thy son. This day will make me seem 
worthy ol the stars. Worthless is all that has been 
done ; this day, my father, will bring Hercules to 
light or doom him." 

mo When lie had thus said, he called for fire. 
"Up now, Alcides' willing friend," said he, "catch 
up the Oetaean torch ; let my step-dame see how 1 
can bear the flames. Why did thy right hand 
tremble? Did thy hand shrink timid from such 
unholy deed ? Then give me my quiver back, thou 
undaring, unskilled, un warlike that the hand to 
bend my bow ! Why do thy cheeks grow pale ? 
Come, seize on the torch with courage, with face 
thou seest on prone Alcides. Poor soul, have sqme 
regard for him who soon will burn. 

1725 But lo ! now doth my father call me and he 
opens heaven. I come, O sire." Then was his face 
no more the same. With trembling hand I applied 

1 Pluto. 

3 i.e. the latest defiant word, "compelled." 

321 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

refugit ignis et reluctantur faces 

et membra vitant, sed recedentem Hercules 

insequitur ignem. Caucasum aut Pindum aut 

Athon 1730 

ardere credas ; nullus erumpit sonus, 
tantum ingemescit ignis, o durum iecur ! 
Typhon in illo positus immanis rogo 
gemuisset ipse quique convulsam solo 
imposuit umeris Ossan Enceladus ferox. 

At ille medias inter exurgens faces, 
semiustus ac laniatus, intrepidum tuens : 
" nunc es parens Herculea ; sic stare ad rogum 
te, mater," inquit, " sic decet fieri Herculem." 
inter vapores positus et flammae minas 1740 

immotus, inconcussus, in neutrum latus 
correpta torquens membra adhortatur, monet, 
gerit aliquid ardens. omnibus fortem addidit 
animum ministris ; urere ardentem putes. 
stupet omne volgus, vix habent flammae fidem, 
tarn placida frons est, tanta maiestas viro. 
nee properat uri ; cumque iam forti datum 
leto satis pensavit, igniferas trabes 
hinc inde traxit, minima quas flamma occupat, 
totasque in ignes vertit et quis plurimus 1750 

exundat ignis repetit intrepidus ferox. 
tune ora flammis implet. ast illi graves 
luxere barbae ; cumque iam voltum minax 
appeteret ignis, lainberent flammae caput, 
non pressit oculos. sed quid hoc ? maestam intuor 
322 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

the blazing pine ; the flames shrunk back, the torch 
resisted and would not touch his limbs ; but Hercules 
followed up the shrinking flames. Thou wouldst 
suppose that Caucasus or Pindus or Athos was 
ablaze ; no sound burst forth, save that the fire 
seemed groaning. O stubborn heart ! Had huge 
Typhon been lying on that pyre, he would have 
groaned aloud, and fierce Enceladus who upon his 
shoulders bore Ossa, uptorn from earth. 

1736 B u t Hercules, midst roaring flames upstarting, 
all charred and mangled, gazed dauntless round and 
cried : " Now art thou parent true of Hercules ; thus 
'tis meet that thou shouldst stand, my mother, 
beside the pyre, and thus 'tis meet that Hercules be 
mourned." Midst scorching heat and threat'ning 
flames, unmoved, unshaken, to neither side turning 
his tortured limbs, he encourages, advises, is active 
still, though all aflame. To all his ministrants stout- 
ness of soul he gives ; you would deem him all on 
fire to burn. The whole crowd stands in speechless 
wonder and the flames have scarce belief, 1 so calm 
his brow, the hero so majestic. Nor does he speed 
his burning ; but when now he deemed that courage 
enough had been shown in death, from every side he 
dragged the burning logs which the fire least fed 
upon, and into that blazing mass he strode and 
sought where the flames leaped highest, all unafraid, 
defiant. Awhile he feasted his eyes upon the fires. 
But now his heavy beard burned bright ; and even 
when threat'ning fire assailed his face and the hot 
tongues licked about his head, he did not close his 
eyes. But what is this ? I see the sad mother 



1 The people hardly believed that the fire was real. 

323 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

sinu gerentem reliquias magm Herculis l 
crinemque iactans squalid um Alcmene gemit. 

ALCMENA 

Timete, superi, fata ! tarn parvus cinis 
Herculeus, hue hue ille deerevit gigans ! 
o quanta. Titan, ad nihil moles abit ! 1760 

anilis, heu me, recipit Alciden sinus, 
hie tumulus illi est. ecce vix totam Hercules 
complevit urnam ; quam leve est pondus mihi, 
cui totus aether pondus incubuit leve. 
ad Tartara olim regnaque, o nate, ultima 
rediturus ibas quando ab inferna Styge 
remeabis iterum ? non ut et spolium trahas 
rursusque Theseus debeat lucem tibi 
sed quando solus ? mundus impositus tuas 
compescet umbras teque Tartareus canis 1770 

inhibere poterit ? quando Taenarias fores 
pulsabis, aut quas mater ad fauces agar 
qua mors aditur ? vadis ad manes iter 
habiturus unum. quid diem questu tero ? 
quid misera duras vita? quid lucem tenes? 
quern parere rursus Herculem possum lovi ? 
quis me parentem natus Alcmenen suam 
tantus vocabit ? o nimis felix nimis, 
Thebane coniunx, Tartan intrasti loca 
florente nato teque venientem inferi 1780 

timuere forsan, quod pater tantum Herculis, 

1 Leo deletes II. 1755, 1756, Richter 1755-1757: the last part 
of the speech of Philoctetes is supposed to have fallen out. 

324 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

bearing in her bosom the remains of great Alcides, 
and Alcmena, tossing her squalid locks, bewails her 
son. 

[Enter ALCMFNA, carrying in her bosom a funeral urn.] 

ALCMENA 

Fear ye the fates, O powers above ! (Holding up 
the urn.} See the scant dust of Hercules to this, 
to this has that mighty body shrunk ! O Sun, how 
great a mass has passed away to nothingness ! Ah 
me, this aged breast can hold Alcides, this is a tomb 
for him. See, Hercules has scarce filled all the urn; 
how light for me his weight upon whose shoulders 
the whole heavens as a light weight rested. Once to 
the farthest realms of Tartarus, O son, didst thou go 
but to return Oh, when from infernal Styx wilt 
thou come again ? Not in such wise as to bring e'en 
spoil with thee, nor that Theseus again may owe 
thee the light of day, but when, though all alone? 
Will the whole world, heaped on thee, hold thy 
shade, or the hell-hound avail to keep thee back? 
When wilt thou batter down the Taenarian * gates, 
or to what yawning jaws shall thy mother betake 
herself, where is the approach to death ? Thou 
takest tliy journey to the dead, and 'twill be thy 
only one. Why do I waste time in wailing? W 7 hy 
dost endure, O wretched life ? Why clingest to the 
light ? What Hercules can I again bring forth to 
Jove ? What son so great will call me mother, will 
call me his Alcmena ? Oh, too, too happy thou, my 
Theban husband, 2 for thou to the realms of Tartarus 
didst descend, thy son still living ; at thy approach 
the internal ones, perchance, were filled with fear, 
merely because thou wast the sire of Hercules, even 
1 See Index a.v. " Taenarus." * Amphitryon. 

S25 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

vel falsus, aderas quas petam terras anus, 

invisa saevis regibus, si quis tamen 

rex est relictus saevus ? ei miserae mihi 1 

quicurnque caesos ingemit natus patres, 

a me petet supplicia, me cuncti obruent. 

si quis minor Busiris aut si quis minor 

Antaeus orbem fervidae terret plagae, 

ego praeda ducar ; si quis Ismarius greges 

Thracis cruenti vindicat, carpent greges 1790 

rnea membra diri. forsitan poenas petet 

irata luno ; totus hue verget l dolor ; 

secura victo tandem ab Alcide vacat, 

paelex supersum a quanta supplicia expetet 

ne parere possim ! fecit hie natus mihi 

uterum timendum. 

Quae petam Alcmene loca ? 
quis me locus, quae regio, quae mundi plaga 
defendet aut quas mater in latebras agar 
ubique per te nota ? sic patriam petam 
laresque miseros ? Argos Eurystheus tenet. 1800 
niarita Thebas regna et Ismenon petam 
thalamosque nostros, in quibus quondam lovem 
dilecta vidi ? pro nimis felix, nimis, 
si fulminantem et ipsa sensissem lovem ! 
utinam meis visceribus Alcides foret 
exectus infans ! nunc datum est tempus, datum est 
videre natum laude certantem lovi, 
ut et hoc daretur, scire quid fatum mihi 
eripere posset. 

1 So Richter with N. Heinsiua : Leo reads furetur with &, 
and conjectures exurget. 

326 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

though falsely called. What lands shall an aired 

O ' 

woman seek, hated by savage kings, if spite of all 
any savage king is left alive ? Oh, woe is me ! All 
sons 1 who lament their murdered sires will seek 
revenge from me ; they all will overwhelm me. If 
any young Busiris or if any young Antaeus terrifies 
the region of the burning zone, 2 I shall be led off as 
booty; if any Ismarian 3 seeks revenge for the herds 
of the bloody king 4 of Thrace, upon my limbs 
will his horrid herds be fed. Juno, perchance, in 
anger will seek revenge ; against me will the whole 
force of her wrath incline ; though her soul is no 
more disturbed by Alcides, o'ercome at last, I, the 
concubine, am left ah ! what punishments will she 
inflict, lest I be again a mother ! This son has made 
my womb a thing of fear. 

1796 Whither shall Alcmena flee? What place, 
what region, what quarter of the world will take my 
part, or to what hiding-place shall thy mother betake 
herself, known everywhere through thee ? Shall I 
seek my fatherland and my wretched home ? 
Eurystheus is king at Argos. Shall I seek Thebes, 
my husband's kingdom, the Ismenus and my bridal 
chamber, where once, greatly beloved by him, I 
looked on Jove ? Oh, happy, far too happy had I 
been, if I myself, too, 5 had known Jove's thunder- 
bolt ! Oh, would that from my womb the infant 
Alcides had been ripped ! But now was the chance 
given me, yea 'twas given to see my son vying in 
praise with Jove, that this, too, might be given me 
to know of how much fate had power to rob me. 

1 i.e. whose fathers Hercules has slain. 
3 Both these enemies of Hercules had lived in Africa. 
3 i.e. Thracian. 4 Diomedes. 
She is thinking of the experience of Semele. 

327 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Quis memor vivet tui, 

o nate, populus? omne iam ingratum est genus. 1810 
petam Cleonas ? Arcadum populos petam 
meritisque terras nobiles quaeram tuis ? 
hie dira serpens cecidit, hie ales fera, 
hie rex cruentus, hie tua fractus manu 
qui te sepulto possidet caelum leo. 
si grata terra est, populus Alcmenen tuam 
defendat omnis. Thracias gentes petam 
Hebrique populos ? haec quoque est meritis tuis 
defensa tell us ; stabula cum regno iacent. 
hie pax cruento rege prostrate data est ; 1820 

ubi enim negata est ? 

Quod tibi infelix anus 
quaeram sepulchrum ? de tuis totus rogis 
contendat orbis. reliquias magni Herculis 
quis populus aut quae templa, quae gentes rogant ? 
quis, quis petit, quis poscit Alcmenes onus ? 
quae tibi sepulchra, nate, quis tumulus sat est ? 
hie totus orbis ; fama erit titulus tibi. 
quid, anime, trepidas ? Herculis cineres tenes ; 
complectere ossa; reliquiae auxilium dabunt, 
erunt satis praesidia, terrebunt tuae 1830 

reges vel umbrae. 

HYLLVS 

Debitos nato quidem 
compesce fletus, mater Alcidae incluti. 
non est gemendus nee gravi urgendus prece, 

1 Lerna. * The Stymphalian bird. 

328 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

1809 What people will live mindful of thee, O son ? 
Now is the whole race ungrateful. Shall I seek 
Cleonae ? seek the Arcadian tribes and hunt out the 
lands made famous by thy righteous toils ? Here 1 
fell the serpent dire, here the bird-monster, 2 here 3 
fell a bloody king, and here 4 by thy hand subdued, 
the lion fell, who, while thou liest buried here, holds 
a place in heaven. If earth is grateful, let every 
people shield thine Alcmena. Shall I go to the 
Thracian peoples, and to Hebrus' tribes? for this 
land, too, was defended by thy toils ; low do the 
stables 5 with the kingdom lie. Here peace was 
granted when the bloody king was overthrown ; for 
where has it not been granted ? 

is^i What tomb for thee shall a luckless old woman 
seek? Let the whole world contend for thy remains. 
The ashes of mighty Hercules, what people or what 
temples, what races desire to have ? Who then, who 
seeks, who demands Alcmena's burden b ? What 
sepulchre, O son, what tomb is great enough for 
thee? Thy tomb is the whole wide world, and fame 
shall be thine epitaph. Why, soul of mine, art fear- 
ful ? Thou holdst the dust of Hercules; embra'ce 
his bones ; his mere dust will bring thee aid, will be 
defence enough ; even thy ghost will cause kings to 
tremble. 

HYLLUS \who seems to have been present during the 

preceding scene\ 

Though truly they are due thy son, restrain thy 
tears, mother of Alcides the illustrious. He is 
neither to be mourned nor pursued with grievous 

3 Egypt, Thrace, or Libya, according as Busiris, Diomedw, 
or Antaeus is in her mind. 4 Neniea. 6 i.e. of DiomeJes. 
8 i.e. the urn containing the ashes of Hercules. 

329 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

virtute quisquis abstulit fatis iter ; 
aeterna virtus Herculem fieri vetat. 
fortes vetant maerere, degeneres iubent. 1 

ALCMENA 

Sedabo questus vindice arnisso parens ? 

HYLLVS 

Terra atque pelagus quaque purpureus dies 
utrurnque clara spectat Oceanum rota 2 

ALCMENA 

Quot misera in uno condidi natos parens ! 1840 
regno carebam, regna sed poteram dare, 
unu inter omnes terra quas inatres gerit 
votis perperci, nil ego a su peris peti 
iiicolume nato ; quid dare Herculeus mihi 
non poterat ardor ? quis deus quicquam mihi 
negare poterat ? vota in hac fuerant manu ; 
quidquid negaret luppiter, daret Hercules, 
quid tale genetrix ulla mortalis tulit ? 
deriguit aliqua mater ut toto stetit 
succisa fetu bisque septenos gregem 18.50 

deplanxit una ; gregibus aequari meus 
quot ille poterat ? matribus miseris adhuc 
exemplar ingens derat Alcmene dabo. 
cessate, matres, pertinax si quas dolor 
adhuc iubet lugere, quas luctus gravis 
in saxa vertit ; cedite his cunctae malis. 
agedum senile pectus, o miserae nianus, 
pulsate et una funeri tan to sat es, 

1 Leo deletes this lint. 

- Evidently there is a lacuna following this line. LAO $ug- 
<jLnts: (non sola raaeres) vindice amisso dolent. 

.S30 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

prayers, whoe'er by his valour hath halted the march 
of fate ; his deathless valour forbids to weep for 
Hercules. Brave men forbid to mourn, cowards 
command. 

ALCMENA 

When her deliverer is lost, shall a mother abate 
her grief? 

HYLLUS 

Both land and sea and where the shining sun from 
his bright car looks down upon both oceans, (not 
thou alone dost grieve) all mourn for their lost 
deliverer. 1 

ALCMENA 

How many sons has his wretched mother buried 
in him alone ! Kingdom I lacked, yet kingdoms 
could I give. I only, midst all the mothers whom 
the earth contains, refrained from prayer ; naught 
from the gods I asked, while my son remained ; for 
what could the love of Hercules not grant to me ? 
What god could deny me aught ? In my own hands 
were the answers to my prayers ; whatever Jove 
denied, Hercules could bestow. What son like this 
has a mortal mother borne ? Once a mother 2 
stiffened into stone when, stripped of her whole 
brood, she stood and, one alone, lamented her twice 
seven children ; but to how many broods like hers 
could my son be compared ? Till now for mother's 
grief a measure vast enough was lacking Alcmena 
will furnish it. Then cease, ye mothers, whom 
persistent woe still bids to mourn, whom crushing 
sorrow has transformed to stone ; yield ye, yea, all of 
you, to these my woes. Then come, beat on this 
aged breast, O wretched hands, and canst thou alone 

1 Translating Leo's conjecture. 2 Niobe. 

331 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

grandaeva anus defecta, quam totus brevi 
lain quaeret 1 orbis ? expedi in planctus tamen I860 
defessa quamquam bracchia ; invidiam ut dels 
lugendo facias, advoca in planctus genus. 

Ite Alcmenae magnique lovis 
plangite natum, cui concepto 
lux una peril noctesque duas 
contulit Eos : ipsa quiddam 
plus luce perit. 
totae pariter plangite gentes, 
quarum saevos ille tyrannos 
iussit Stygias penetrare domos 1870 

populisque madens ponere ferrum. 
tietum meritis reddite tantis, 
totus, totus personet orbis. 
fleat Alciden caerula Crete, 
magno tellus cara Tonanti ; 
centum po]vuli bracchia pulsent ; 
nunc Curetes, nunc Corybantes 
arma Idaea quassate manu ; 
armis ilium lugere decet ; 
nunc, nunc funus plangite verum ; 1880 
iacet Alcides non minor ipso, 
Creta, Tonante. 

flete Herculeos, Arcades, obitus, 
nondum Phoebe nascente genus ; 
iuga Parthenii Nemeaeque 2 sonent 
feriatque graves Maenala planctus. 
magno Alcidae poscit gemitum 

1 Leo fiam quaeret with E, and conjectures iam totus 
brevi | concurret orbis : sequetur N. Heinsiu* : conveniet 
Koe.fschau : iam peraget Richter. 

2 j Nemeaeque Leo with u: Tegeaeque de Wilamowitz: 
Pheneique Richter. 

332 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

suffice for loss so vast, an aged spent old woman ? 
Soon will the whole world unite to mourn with 
thee. 1 Yet raise thy arms, however weary, in 
lamentation ; that by thy grief thou mayst stir 
envy in the gods, summon the whole race of men 
unto thy mourning. 

[Here follows ALCMENA'S formal song of mourning 
accompanied by the usual Oriental gestures of 
lamentation] 

1863 Come ye, bewail Alcmena's son and mighty 
Jove's, for whose conception one day was lost and 
lingering dawn joined two nights in one ; something 
greater than the day itself is lost. Together lament, 
ye nations all, whose cruel tyrants he bade descend 
to the abodes of Styx and lay down the sword, 
reeking with blood of peoples. To such deserts pay 
tribute of your tears ; let all, yea all the world echo 
to your laments. Alcides let sea-girt Crete bewail, 
land to the great Thunderer dear ; let its hundred 
peoples beat upon their arms. Now Cretans, now 
priests of Cybele, with your hands clash Ida's 
cymbals ; 'tis meet that with arms ye mourn him. 
Now, now make him just funeral ; low lies Alcides, 
equal, O Crete, to the Thunderer himself. Weep 
for Alcides' passing, O Arcadians, who were a people 
ere yet the moon was born ; let Parthenius' heights 
and Nemea's hills resound and Maenalus smite heavy 
blows of grief. The bristly boar, within your fields 
laid low, demands lament for great Alcides, and the 

1 Translating Leo's conjecture, See critical note 1. 

333 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

stratus vestris saetiger agris 

alesque sequi iussa sagittas 

totum pinna velante diem. 1890 

flete Argolicae, flete, Cleonae ; 

hie terrentem moenia quondam 

vestra leonem fregit nostri 

dextera nati ; date Bistoniae 

verbera matres gelidusque sonet 

planctibus Hebrus ; flete Alciden, 

quod non stabulis nascitur infans 

nee vestra greges viscera carpunt. 

fleat Antaeo libera tellus 

et rapta fero plaga Geryonae ; 1900 

mecum miserae plangite gentes, 

audiat ictus utraque Tethys. 

Vos quoque, mundi turba citati, 
flete Herculeos, numina, casus ; 
vestrum Alcides cervice meus 
mundum, superi, caelumque tulit, 
cum stelligeri vector Olympi 
pondere liber spiravit Atlans. 
ubi nunc vestrae, luppiter, arces ? 
ubi promissi regia mundi ? 1910 

nempe Alcides mortalis obit, 
nempe sepultus. quotiens telis 
facibusque tuis ille pepercit, 
quotiens ignis spargendus erat ! 
in me saltern iaculare facem 
Semelenque puta. 

lamne Rlysias, o nate, domus, 
iam litus habes ad quod populos 
natura vocat ? 

an post raptum Styx atra canem 
praeclusit iter teque in primo 1920 

limine Ditis fata moraiitur ? 

334 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

huge bird whose wings hid all the sky, challenged l 
to meet his shafts. Weep, Argive Cleonae, weep ; 
here long ago the lion who kept your walls in fear 
my son's right hand destroyed. Ye Bistonian dames, 
beat your breasts, and let cold Hebrus resound to 
your beatings ; weep for Alcides, for no more are 
your children born for the stalls, 2 nor your offspring 
as food for the herds. Weep thou, O land from 
Antaeus delivered, ye regions from fierce Geryon 
saved ; yea, with me, ye unhappy nations, lament ; 
let both seas 3 re-echo your beatings. 

1903 YOU too, ye thronging deities of the whirling 
heavens, bewail Hercules' fate ; for my Alcides bore 
your heavens upon his shoulders, your sky, ye gods 
above, when Atlas, starry Olympus' prop, was eased 
of his load awhile. Where now are thy heights, 
O Jove? Where is the promised 4 palace in the sky? 
Alcides, mortal, is dead ! mortal, is buried ! How 
oft did he save thee thy lightnings, how seldom thy 
fire needed hurling ! 5 Against me at least brandish 
thy lightning, and deem me Semele. 

1916 And now, O son, holdst thou the Elysian seats, 
holdst now the shore whither nature calls all peoples? 
Or after the dog was stolen has the dark Styx 
barred thy way, and on the very threshold of Dis do 
the fates delay thee ? What confusion now, my 

1 Hercules roused the bird from its Stymphalian lair by 
the noise of a great rattle. 9 i.e. of Diomedes. 

3 i.e. the eastern and western limits of the sea. 

4 Jove had promised Hercules a place in heaven. 

6 i.e. Hercules had taken upon himself the punishment of 
sinful men. 

335 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

quis nunc umbras, nate, turaultus 

manesque tenet? 

fu>it abducta navita cumba 

et Centauris Thessala motis 

ferit attonitos ungula manes 

anguesque suos hydra sub undas 

territa mersit teque labores, 

o nate, timent ? 

fallor, fallor vaesana furens ! 1930 

nee te manes umbraeque timent, 

non Arolico rapta leoni 

fulva pellis contecta iuba 

laevos operit dira lacertos 

vallantque ferae tempora dentes ; 

donum pharetrae cessere tuae 

telaque mittet iam dextra minor. 

vadis inermis, nate, per umbras, 

ad quas semper mansurus eris. 

vox HERCVL, 

Quid me tenentem regna siderei poll 194-0 

caeloque tandem redditum planctu iubes 
sentire fatum ? parce ; iam virtus mihi 
in astra et ipsos fecit ad superos iter. 

ALCMENA 

Vnde, unde sonus trepidas aures 
ferit ? unde meas inhibet lacrimas 
fragor ? agnosco victum esse cliaos. 

A Styge, nate, redis iterum mihi 
fractaque non semel est mors horrida? 
vicisti rursus mortis loca 
puppis et infernae vada tristia? 1950 

336 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

son, seizes the shadowy spirits ? Does the boatman 
draw away his skiff in flight ? Do Thessalian 
Centaurs with flying hoofs smite the affrighted 
ghosts ? Does the hydra in terror plunge his snaky 
heads beneath the waves and do thy toils all fear 
thee, O my son? Fooled, fooled am I, distracted, mad! 
Nor ghosts nor shadows are afraid of thee ; the fear- 
some pelt, stripped from the Argolic lion, with its 
tawny mane shields thy left arm no more, and its 
savage teeth hedge not thy temples ; thy quiver 
thou hast given away and now a lesser hand will 
aim thy shafts. Unarmed, my son, thou farest 
through the shades, and with them forever shalt 
thou abide. 



THE VOICE OF HERCULES [from 

Why, since I hold the realms of starry heaven and 
at last have attained the skies, dost by lamentation 
bid me taste of death ? Give o'er ; for now has my 
valour borne me to the stars and to the gods them- 
selves. 

ALCMENA [bewildered.] 

Whence, oh, whence falls that sound upon my 
startled ears ? Whence do the thunderous tones bid 
check my weeping ? Now know I that chaos has 
been o'ercome. 

1947 From the Styx, O son, art come again to me ? 
Broken a second time is the power of grisly death ? 
Hast escaped once more death's stronghold and the 
infernal skiff's dark pools? Is Acheron's wan stream 

337 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

pervius est Acheron iam languidus 

et remeare licet soli tibi 

nee te fata tenent post funera ? 

an tibi praeclusit Pluton iter 

et pavidus regni metuit sibi ? 

certe ego te vidi flagrantibus 

impositum silvis, cum plurimus 

in caelum fureret flammae metus. 

arsisti cur te, cur ultima 

non tenuere tuas umbras loca ? I960 

quid timuere tui manes precor ? 

umbra quoque es Diti nimis horrida ? 

HERCVLES 

Non me gementis stagna Cocyti tenent 
nee puppis umbras furva transvexit meas ; 
iam parce, mater, questibus ; manes semel 
umbrasque vidi. quidquid in nobis tui 
mortale fuerat, ignis evictus tulit ; 
paterna caelo, pars data est flammis tua. 
proinde planctus pone, quos nato paret 
genetrix inerti. luctus in turpes eat ; 1970 

virtus in astra tendit, in mortem timor. 
praesens ab astris, mater, Alcides cano : 
poenas cruentus iam tibi Eurystheus dabit ; 
curru superbum vecta transcendes caput. 
me iam decet subire caelestem plagam ; 
inferna vici rursus Alcides loca. 
338 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

retraceable and mayst thou alone recross it ? And 
after thy death do the fates hold thee no more ? 
Has Pluto barred thy way, and trembling feared for 
his own sovereignty? Surely upon the blazing logs 
I saw thee laid, when the vast, fearful flames raged 
to the sky. Thou wast consumed why, why did the 
bottomless abyss not gain thy shade ? What part of 
thee did the ghosts fear, I pray ? Is e'en thy shade 
too terrible for Dis ? 



HERCULES [his form now taking shape in the air above,] 

The pools of groaning Cocytus hold me not, nor 
has the dark skiff borne o'er my shade ; then cease 
thy laments, my mother ; once and for all have I 
seen the shadowy ghosts. Whate'er in me was mortal 
and of thee, the vanquished flame has borne away 1 
my father's part to heaven, thy part to the flames has 
been consigned. Cease then thy lamentations which 
to a worthless son might well be given. Let tears 
for the inglorious flow ; valour fares starward, fear, to 
the realm of death. In living presence, mother, 
from the stars Alcides speaks; soon shall bloody 
Eurystheus make thee full recompense; o'er his 
proud head shalt thou in triumph ride. But now 'tis 
meet that I pass to the realm above ; Alcides once 
again has conquered hell. 

[He vanishes from sight.] 

1 Both text and meaning are doubtful here. The sense seems 
to be that though the mortal part of Hercules has been 
consumed by the flames, they have in reality been vanquished 
by his spirit. 

339 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

ALCMENA 

Mane parumper cessit ex oculis, abit, 
in astra fertur. fallor an voltus putat 
vidisse natum ? misera mens incredula est 
es numen et te mundus aeternum tenet ; 1980 

credo triumphis. 

Regna Thebarum petara 
novumque templis additum numen canam. 

CHORV8 

Numquam Stygias fertur ad umbras 
inclita virtus, vivunt fortes 
nee Lethaeos saeva per amnes 
vos fata trahent, sed cum sunimas 
exiget horas consumpta dies, 
iter ad superos gloria pandet. 

Sed tu, domitor magne ferarum 
orbisque simul pacator, ades ; 1990 

nunc quoque nostras respice terras, 
et si qua novo belua voltu 
quatiet populos terrore gravi, 
tu fulminibus frange trisulcis 
fortius ipso genitore tuo 
fulmina mitte. 



HERCULES OETAEUS 

ALCMENA 

Stay but a little ! he has vanished from my sight, 
is gone, to the stars faring. Am I deceived or do my 
eyes but deem they saw my son? My soul for very 
grief cannot believe it. But no ! thou art divine, 
and deathless the heavens possess thee. In thy 
triumphant entrance I believe. 

1981 New- will 1 take me to the realm of Thebes and 
there proclaim the new god added to their temples. 

[Exit. 

CHORUS 

Never to Stygian shades is glorious valour borne. 
The brave live on, nor shall the cruel fates bear you 
o'er Lethe's waters ; but when the last day shall 
bring the final hour, glory will open wide the path 
to heaven. 

1989 But do thou, O mighty conqueror of beasts, 
peace-bringer to the world, be with us yet ; still as 
of old regard this earth of ours ; and if some strange - 
visaged monster cause us with dire fear to tremble^ 
do thou o'ercome him with the forked thunder- 
bolts yea, more mightily than thy father's self the 
thunders hurl. 



341 



PHOENISSAE 



DRAMATIS PERSON AE 



OEDIPUS, late, king of Thtbes. 

ANTIGONE, daughter of Oedipus, constant to him in his mis- 
fortunes. 

JOCASTA, ivife and mother of Oedipus. 

POLYNICES,^ 

}- sons of Oedijnts and rivals for the throne. 
ETEOCLES, J 

MESSENGER. 

THE SCENE is laid, first in the wild country to which 
Oedipus, accompanied by Antigone, has betaken himself; 
then in Thebes ; and lastly in the plain before Thebes. 

THE TIME is three years after the downfall of Oedipus. 



ARGUMENT 

THE stroke of fate, that has been threatening Oedipus 
since long before his birth, has fallen at last, and he has 
.done the thing he feared to do. And now, self-blinded 
and self-exiled from his land, he has for three years 
wandered in rough and trackless places, attended by 
Antigone, his daughter, who, alone of all his friends, has 
condoned his fated sins and remained attached to him. 

Meanwhile his sons, though they agreed to reign alter- 
nate years, are soon to meet in deadly strife ; for Etcocles, 
although his year of royal power is at an end, refuses to 
give up the throne ; and now Polynices, who has in exile 
wed the daughter of Adrastus, king of Argos, is march- 
ing against the gates of Thebes, with seven great armies 
to enforce his rights. 

[By a different version from the " Oedipus," Jocasta 
did not slay herself at once as in that tale, but still is 
living on in grief and shame, and strives to reconcile her 
sons.] 



PHOENISSAE 



OEDIPVS 

CAECI parentis regimen et fessi unicum 
lateris levamen, nata, quam tanti est mihi 
genuisse vel sic, desere infaustum patrem. 
in recta quid deflectis errantem gradum ? 
permitte labi ; melius inveniam viam, 
quam quaero, solus, quae me ab hac vita extrahat 
et hoc nefandi capitis aspectu levet 
caelum atque terras, quantulum hac egi manu ? 
11011 video noxae conscium nostrae diem, 
sed videor. hinc iam solve inhaerentem manum 10 
et patere caecum qua volet ferri pedem. 
ibo, ibo qua praerupta protendit iuga 
meus Cithaeron, qua peragrato celer 
per saxa monte iacuit Actaeon suis 
nova praeda canibus, qua per obscurum nemus 
silvamque opacae vallis instinctas deo 
egit sorores mater et gaudens malo 
vibrante fixum praetulit thyrso caput ; 
vel qua cucurrit, corpus inlisum trahens, 
Zethi iuvencus, qua per horrentes rubos 20 

1 In the corresponding Greek play a chorus of Phoenician 
maidens on their way to Delphi chanced to be at Thebes. 
This circumstance gives the play its name. 

346 



PHOENISSAE, 1 OR THEBAIS 

A FRAGMENT 

OEDIPUS 

[To ANTIGONE, who has followed him into exile. "\ 
THOU guide of thy blind father's steps, his weary 
side's sole stay, daughter, whose getting, even so, 
was worth the cost to me, quit thou thy heaven-cursed 
sire. Why into right paths wouldst turn aside my 
wandering feet ? Let me stumble on ; better alone 
shall I find the way I seek, the way which from this 
life shall deliver me and free heaven and earth from 
sight of this impious head. How little did I 
accomplish with this hand ! I do not see the light, 
witness of my crime, but I am seen. Therefore, 
now unclasp thy clinging hand and let my sightless 
feet wander where they will. I'll go, I'll go where my 
own Cithaeron lifts his rugged crags ; where, speed- 
ing over the mountain's rocky ways, Actaeon lay at 
last, strange quarry for his own hounds ; where, 
through the dim grove and woods of the dusky 
glade, a mother 2 led her sisters, by the god impelled, 
and, rejoicing in the crime, bore in advance the 
head s fixed on a quivering thyrsus ; or where 
Zethus' bull rushed along, dragging a mangled 
corpse, while through the thorny brambles the mad 

8 Agave, who with her sisters, in a frenzy inspired by 
Bacchus, slew her son, Pentheus. 
8 i.e. of Pentheus. 

347 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

tauri ferocis sanguis ostendit fugas ; 
vel qua alta maria vertice immense premit 
Inoa rupes, qua scelus fugiens novum 
novumque faciens mater insiluit freto 
mersura natum seque. felices quibus 
fortuna melior tarn bonas matres dedit. 

Est alius istis noster in silvis locus, 
qui me reposcit, hunc petam cursu incite ; 
non haesitabit gressus, hue omni duce 
spoliatus ibo. quid moror sedes meas ? SO 

mortem, Cithaeron, redde et hospitium mihi 
illud meum restitue, ut expirem senex 
ubi debui infans. recipe supplicium vetus. 
semper cruente saeve crudelis ferox, 
cum occidis et cum parcis, olim iam tuum 
est hoc cadaver : perage mandatum patris, 
iam et matris. animus gestit antiqua exequi 
supplicia. quid me, nata, pestifero tenes 
amore vinctum ? quid tenes ? genitor vocat. 
sequor, sequor, iam parce sanguineum gerens 40 
insigne regni Laius rapti furit ; 
en ecce, inanes manibus infestis petit 
foditque vultus. nata, genitorem vides ? 
ego video, tandem spiritum inimicum expue, 
desertor anime, fortis in partem tui. 
omitte poenae languidas longae moras, 
mortemque totam admitte. quid segnis traho 
quod vivo ? nullum facere iam possum scelus. 
possum miser, praedico discede a patre, 
discede, virgo. timeo post matrem omnia. 50 

348 



PHOENISSAE 

creature's flight was traceable in blood; or where 
Ino's cliff juts out into the deep sea with tower- 
ing peak, where, fleeing strange crime and yet 
strange crime committing, a mother leaped into the 
strait to sink both son and self. 1 Oh, happy they 
whose better fortune has given such kindly mothers ! 
27 There is another place within these woods, my 
own place, which calls for me ; I would fain hasten to 
it; my steps will falter not; thither will I go bereft 
of every guide. Why keep my own place waiting .* 
Death, O Cithaeron, give me back ; restore me that 
restinsr-place of mine, that I may die in a^e where I 

* 

should have died in infancy. Claim now that penalty 
of old. O ever bloody, savage, cruel, fierce, both 
when thou slayest and when thou sparest, this carcass 
of mine long since belonged to thee ; fulfil my father's 
behest aye, and now mv mother's too. My soul 

J * * * 

yearns to suffer the penalty of long ago. Why, 
daughter, dost hold me bound by thy baleful love ? 
Why dost thou hold me? Mv father calls. I come. 

/ * 

I come ; at last let me go - Laius rages yonder, 
wearing the blood-stained badge of his ravished 
kingdom ; see ! behold ! there he assails and seeks to 
tear at my sightless countenance with his threatening 
hands. Daughter, dost see my father ? I surely see 
him. [He soliloquizes.] At length spew out thy hateful 
breath, O traitor soul, brave 'gainst but a portion of 
thyself. Away with the slow delays of thy long- 
due punishment ; receive death wholly. Why do 
I sluggishly drag on this life? Now can I do no 
crime. I can, wretch that I am, this I forebode away 

from thy father, away, while still a maid. After mv 
j , ' . 

mother I fear all happenings. 

1 See Index a.v. "Ino." 

3 i.e. (to his daughter) " spare me thy further opposition." 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

ANTIGONA 

Vis nulla, genitor, a tuo nostram manum 
corpora resolvet, nemo me comitem tibi 
eripiet umquam. Labdaci claram domum, 
opulenta ferro regna germani petant ; 
pars summa magno patris e regno mea est, 
pater ipse. non hunc auferet frater mihi 
Thebana rapto sceptra qui regno tenet, 
non hunc catervas alter Argolicas agens ; 
non si revulso luppiter mundo tonet 
mediumque nostros fulmen in nexus cadat, 60 

manum hanc remittam. prohibeas, genitor, licet; 
regam abnuentem, dirigam inviti gradum. 
in plana tendis ? vado ; praerupta appetis ? 
non obsto, sed praecedo ; quo vis utere 
duce me : dwobus omnis eligitur via. 
perire sine me non potes, mecum potes. 
hie alta rupes arduo surgit iugo 
spectatque longe spatia subiecti maris, 
vis hanc petamus ? nudus hie pendet silex, 
hie scissa tellus faucibus ruptis hiat ; 70 

vis hanc petamus ? hie rapax torrens cadit 
partesque lapsi montis exesas rotat ; 
in hunc ruamus ? dum prior, quo vis eo. 
non deprecor, non hortor. extingui cupis 
votumque, genitor, maximum mors est tibi ? 
si moreris, antecedo ; si vivis, sequor. 
sed flecte mentem, pectus antiquum advoca 
victasque magno robore aerumnas doma ; 
resiste ; tantis in malis vinci mori est. 
350 



PHOEN1SSAE 

ANTIGONE 

No force, my father, shall loose my hold of thee ; 
no one shall ever tear me from thy side. The 
sovereignty of Labdacus' noble house and all its 
riches let my brothers fight over these ; the best 
part of my father's mighty kingdom is my own, my 
father's self. Him no brother shall take from me, 
not he l who holds the Theban sceptre by stolen 
right, not he 2 who is leading the Argive hosts ; 
no, though Jove should rend the universe with his 
thunders, and his bolt fall 'twixt our embrace, I 
will not let go my hands. Thou mayst forbid me, 
father; I'll guide thee against thy will, I'll direct 
thine unwilling feet. Wouldst go to the level plain ? 
I go. Wouldst seek the craggy mountains? I 
oppose not, but I go before. Whither thou wilt, 
use me as guide ; by two will all paths be chosen. 
Without me thou canst not perish ; with me thou 
canst. Here rises a cliff, lofty, precipitous, and looks 
out upon the long reaches of the underlying sea; 
wouldst have us seek it ? Here is a bare rock over- 
hanging, here the riven earth yawns with gaping 
jaws ; shall we go here ? Here a raging torrent 
falls and rolls along worn fragments of the fallen 
mountains ; shall we plunge to this ? Where'er 
thou wilt, I go, so it be first. I neither oppose nor 
urge. Art eager to be destroyed, and is death, 
father, thy highest wish? If thou diest, I go before 
thee ; if thou livest, I follow. But change thy 
purpose ; summon up thine old-time courage ; 
conquer thy sorrows and with all thy might be 
master of them, resist them ; amidst such woes, to 
be conquered is to die. 

1 Eteoclea. 2 Polynices. 

351 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

OEDIPVS 

Vnde in nefanda specimen egregium domo ? 80 
unde ista generi virgo dissimilis suo ? 
Fortuna, credis ? aliquis est ex me pius? 
non esset umquam, fata bene novi mea, 
nisi ut noceret. ipsa se in leges novas 
natura vertit ; regeret in fontern citas 
revolutus undas amnis, et noctem afferet 
Phoebea lampas, Hesperus faciet diem ; 
ut ad miserias aliquid accedat meas, 
pii quoque erimus. unica Oedipodae est sal us, 
non esse salvum. liceat ulcisci patrem 90 

adhuc inultum ; dextra quid cessas iners 
exigere poenas? quidquid exactum est adliuc, 
matri dedisti. mitte genitoris inanum, 
animosa virgo ; funus extendis meum 
longasque vivi ducis exequias patris. 
aliquando terra corpus invisum tege ; 
peccas honesta mente, pietatem vocas 
patrem insepultum trahere. qui cogit mori 
nolentem in aequo est quique properantem impedit ; 
occidere est vitare cupientem mori, 1 100 

nee tamen in aequo est ; alterum gravius reor. 
malo imperari quam eripi mortem mihi. 
desiste coepto, virgo ; ius vitae ac necis 
meae penes me est. regna deserui libens, 
rejnium mei retineo. si fida es comes, 

O ' 

ensem parent! trade, sed notum nece 

ensem paterna. tradis ? an nati tenent 

cum regno et ilium ? facinore ubicumque est opus, 

ibi sit relinquo ; natus hunc habeat meus, 

1 Leo deletes this line. 
352 



PHOENISSAE 

OEDIPUS 

Whence this rare type in a house so impious ? 
Whence this maid so unlike her race ? Is it fortune., 
thinkst thou? Has any dutiful child sprung from 
me ? Never would it be so, for well I know my fate, 
save for harmful ends. Nature herself has reversed 
her laws ; now will the river turn and bear its swift 
waters backward to their source, Phoebus' torch 
will bring in the night, and Hesperus herald the 
day ; and, that something be added to my woes, I, too, 
shall become holy. For Oedipus the only salvation 
is not to be saved. Let me avenge my father, till 
now unavenged ; why, sluggish hand, dost thou hesi- 
tate to exact penalty ? All thou hast as yet exacted, 
to my mother hast thou given. Let go thy father's 
hand, courageous girl ; thou dost but protract my 
burying, and prolong the funeral rites of a living 
sire. Bury in the earth at last this hateful body ; 
thou wrongst me, though with kind intent, and 
thou deemst it piety to drag along an unburied 
father. 'Tis all one to force him who shrinks from 
death, and stay him who seeks to die ; 'tis the same 
as killing to forbid death to him who wants it ; and 
yet 'tis not all one ; the second course I count the 
worse. Rather would I have death enforced than 
snatched from me. Desist, girl, from thine attempt ; 
the right to live or die is in my own hands. The 
sovereignty over my realm have I yielded gladly; 
the sovereignty over myself I keep. If thou art 
true comrade, hand thy sire a sword, but be it the 
sword made famous by his father's slaughter. Dost 
give it ? or hold my sons that, too, together with my 
kingdom ? Wherever is need of crime, there let it be 
I relinquish it ; let my son have it nay, both my 

353 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

sed uterque. flammas potius et vastum aggerem 1 10 

compone ; in altos ipse me immittam rogos, 

haerebo ad ignes, funebri abscondar strue ; 

pectusque solvam durum et in cinerem dabo 

hoc quidquid in me vivit. ubi saevum est mare ? 

due ubi sit altis prorutum saxis iugum, 

ubi torva rapidus ducat Ismenos vada. 1 116 

si dux es, illuc ire morituro placet, 118 

ubi sedit alta rupe semifero dolos 

Sphinx ore nectens. dirige hue gressus pedum, 120 

hie siste patrem. dira ne sedes vacet, 

monstrum repone maius. hoc saxum insidens 

obscura nostrae verba fortunae loquar, 

quae nemo solvat. quisquis Assyrio loca 

possessa regi scindis et Cadmi nemus 

serpente notum, sacra quo Dirce latet, 

supplex adoras, quisquis Eurotan bibis 

Spartamque fratre nobilem gemino colis, 

quique Elin et Parnason et Boeotios 

colonus agros uberis tondes soli, 130 

adverte mentem saeva Thebarum lues 

luctifica caecis verba committens modis 

quid simile posuit ? quid tarn inextricabile ? 

avi gener patrisque rivalis sui, 

frater suorum liberum et fratrum parens ; 

uno avia partu liberos peperit viro, 

sibi et nepotes. monstra quis tanta explicat ? 

ego ipse, victae spolia qui Sphingis tuli, 

haerebo fati tardus interpres mei. 

2 
***** 

1 Leo deletes line 117 : due ubi ferae sunt, ubi fretum, ubi 
praeceps locus. 

2 A speech of Antigone may have dropped out at this point, 
or Oedipus may hark back to the earlier speech of Antigone 

354 



PHOENISSAE 

sons. Flames, if thou prefer, and a huge mound 
prepare ; myself, will I fling me on the lofty pyre, 
embrace the flames, and hide in the funeral pile. 
There will I set free this stubborn soul and give up 
to ashes this all that is left of me alive. Where is 
the raging sea ? Lead me where some beetling crag 
juts out with its high, rocky cliff, or where swift 
Ismenus rolls his wild waters. If thou art my guide, 
thither would I go to die where on a high cliff the 
Sphinx once sat and wove crafty speech with her 
half-bestial lips. Guide my feet thither, there set 
thy father. Let not that dreadful seat be empty, 
but place thereon a greater monster. On that rock 
will I sit and propound the dark riddle of my fate 
which none may answer. All ye who till the fields 
once ruled by the Assyrian king, 1 who suppliant 
worship in the grove of Cadmus for the serpent 
famed, where sacred Dirce lies ; all ye who drink of 
the Eurotas, who dwell in Sparta for its twin 
brethren 2 famous ; ye farmers who reap Elis and 
Parnassus and Boeotia's fertile fields, give ear. That 
dire pest of Thebes, who wrapped death-dealing 
words in puzzling measures, what riddle like ;this 
did she ever propound ? What maze so bewildering ? 
He was Ids grandfather s son-in-law and his father s 
rival, brother of his children and father of his brothers ; 
at one birth the grandmother bore children to her husband 

O 

and grandchildren to herself. Who can unfold a coil 
so monstrous ? Even I, who gained spoils from the 
conquered Sphinx, shall prove but slow in unriddling 
mine own doom. 

***** 
1 Cadmus. 8 Castor and Pollux. 



after a dramatic pause. Leo holds that the hiatus is, as 
Swoboda thinks, left by the poet himself. 

355 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Quid perdis ultra verba ? quid pectus ferum 140 
mollire temptas precibus ? hoc animo sedet 
effundere hanc cum morte luctantem diu 
animam et tenebras petere ; nam sceleri haec meo 
parum alta nox est ; Tartaro condi iuvat, 
et si quid ultra Tartarum est; tandem libet 
quod olim oportet. morte prohiberi baud queo. 
ferrum negabis ? noxias lapsu vias 
eludes et artis colla laqueis inseri 
prohibebis ? herbas quae ferunt letum auferes ? 
quid ista tandem cura proficiet tua ? 1 50 

ubique mors est. optume hoc cavit deus : 
eripere vitam nemo non homini potest, 
at nemo mortem ; mille ad hanc aditus patent, 
nil quaero. dextra noster et nuda solet 
bene animus uti dextra, nunc toto impetu, 
toto dolore, viribus totis veni. 
non destino unum vulneri nostro locum 
totus nocens sum ; qua voles mortem exige. 
effringe pectus corque tot scelermn capax 
evelle, totos viscerum nuda sinus. 160 

fractum incitatis ictibus guttur sonet 
laceraeque fixis unguibus venae fluant. 
aut dirige iras quo soles ; haec vulnera 
rescissa multo sanguine ac tabe inriga, 
hac extrahe animam duram, inexpugnabilem. 
et tu, parens, ubicumque poenarum arbiter 
adstas mearum non ego hoc tantum scelus 
ulla expiari credidi poena satis 
umquam, nee ista morte contentus fui, 
nee me redemi parte ; membratim tibi 170 

356 



PHOENISSAE 

340 Why dost thou waste further words? Why dost 
try to soften my hard heart with prayers ? My will 
is fixed to pour forth this life which has long been 
struggling with death, and to seek the nether dark- 
ness ; for this deep night is not deep enough for my 
crime ; in Tartarus would I be buried, or if there be 
aught deeper than Tartarus ; 'tis pleasing to do at 
last what long ago I should have done. I cannot be 
kept from death. Wilt withhold the sword? Wilt 
bar paths where I might fall to death ? Wilt keep 
my neck from the choking noose ? Wilt remove 
death -bringing herbs ? What, pray, will that care of 
thine accomplish ? Death is everywhere. This hath 
God with wisdom excellent provided : of life anyone 
can rob a man, but of death no one ; to this a thousand 
doors lie open. I ask for naught. This right hand, 
though bare, my soul hath practice to use well O 
hand of mine, come now with all thy force, with all 
thy smarting rage, with all thy might. Not one spot 
only do I mark out for the wound I am all sin ; 
inflict death where thou wilt. Break through my 
breast and tear out my heart, which has room for so 
many crimes ; lay bare my vitals, every nook ; rain 
resounding blows upon my neck until it break, and 
let my veins flow, torn by my gouging fingers. Or 
aim thy mad attack at the accustomed place ; l these 
wounds reopen ; bathe them in streams of blood and 
gore ; through this passage drag out my stubborn life, 
impregnable. And do thou, my father, where'er thou 
standst as arbiter of my sufferings I have never 
deemed that this grievous crime of mine was 
sufficiently atoned by any suffering, nor have I been 
content with such death as this, nor have I bought 
my pardon with a portion of myself; limb by limb 

J His eyes. 

S57 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

perire volui debitum tandem exige. 

nunc solvo poenas, tune tibi inferias dedi. 

ades atque inertem dexteram introrsus preme 

magisque merge ; timida tune parvo caput 

libavit haustu vixque cuplentes sequi 

eduxit oculos. haeret etiam nunc mihi 

ille animus, haeret, cum recusantem manum 

pressere vultus. audies verum, Oedipus : 

minus eruisti lumina audacter tua, 

quam praestitisti. nunc manum cerebro indue ; 1 SO 

hac parte mortem perage qua coepi mori. 

ANTIGONA 

Pauca, o parens magnanime, miserandae precor 
ut verba natae mente placata audias. 
non te ut reducam veteris ad speciem domus 
habitumque regni flore pollentem inclito 
peto aut ut iras, temporum haut ipsa mora 
fractas, remisso pectore ac pi acid o feras ; 
at hoc decebat roboris tanti virum, 
non esse sub dolore nee victum malis 
dare terga ; non est, ut putas, virtus, pater 1 90 

timere vitam, sed malis ingentibus 
obstare nee se vertere ac retro dare, 
qui fata proculcavit ac vitae bona 
proiecit atque abscidit et casus suos 
oneravit ipse, cui deo nullo est opus, 
quare ille mortem cupiat aut quare petat? 
utrumque timidi est ; nemo contempsit mori 
qui concupivit. cuius haut ultra mala 
exire possunt, in loco tuto est situs. 
358 



PHOENISSAE 

have I desired to die for thee at length exact the 
debt. Now am I paying my penalty ; before, I did 
but offer sacrifices to thy ghost. Come to my aid, 
help me to plunge my nerveless hand deep down and 
deeper ; timidly, aforetime, and with but a meagre 
outpouring did it sprinkle my head, when it scarce 
drew forth the eyes that yearned to follow. Even 
now this soul of mine halts, yes halts, when my face 
has bent downward to mv shrinking hands. Thou 
shalt hear the truth, Oedipus : less boldly didst 
thou pluck out thine eyes than thou didst undertake 
to do. Thrust now thy hand e'en to the brain ; 
through that door whereby I began to die fulfil my 
death. 



ANTIGONE 



Father, great-souled, I beseech thee that with 
calm mind thou listen to some few words of thy 
wretched daughter. I seek not to lead thee back 
again to the splendours of thine ancient home, and 
to thy royal estate, flourishing in power and fame ; 
nor do I ask that thou bear with calm and peaceful 
soul that tempest of passion which has not been 
allayed even by lapse of time ; and yet 'twere fitting 
that one so stalwart should not yield to pain nor 
turn in flight, by disaster overcome. It is not man- 
hood, father, as thou deemst it, to shrink from life, 
but to make stand against mighty ills and neither 
turn nor yield. He who has trodden destiny under 
foot, who has torn off and thrown away life's blessings, 
and himself piled up the burden of his woes, who has 
no need of God, wherefore should he desire death, or 
wherefore seek it? Each is a coward's act ; no one 
despises death who yet yearns for it. He whose 
misfortunes can no further go, is safely lodged. 

359 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Quis iam deorum, velle fac, quicquam potest 200 
mails tuis adicere ? iam nee tu potes 
nisi hoc, ut esse te putes dignum nece. 
non es nee ulla pectus hoc culpa attigit. 
et hoc magis te, genitor, insontem voca, 
quod innocens es dis quoque invitis. quid est 
quod te efferarit, quod novos suffixerit 
stimulos dolori ? quid te in infernas agit 
sedes, quid ex his pellit ? ut eareas die ? 
cares, ut altis nobilem muris domum 
patriamque fugias ? patria tibi vivo perit. 210 

natos fugis matremque ? ab aspectu omnium 
fortuna te summovit, et quidquid potest 
auferre cuiquam mors, tibi hoc vita abstulit. 
regni tumultus ? turba fortunae prior 
abscessit a te iussa quern, genitor, fugis ? 

OEDIPVS 

Me fugio, fugio conscium scelerum omnium 
pectus, manumque hanc fugio et hoc caelum et deos ; 
et dira fugio scelera quae feci innocens. 1 
ego hoc solum, frugifera quo surgit Ceres, 
premo ? has ego auras ore pestifero traho ? 220 

ego laticis haustu satior aut ullo fruor 
almae parentis munere ? ego castam manum 
nefandus incestificus exsecrabilis 
attrecto ? ego ullos aure concipio sonos, 
per quos parentis nomen aut nati audiam ? 
utinam quidem rescindere has quirem vias 

1 Leo deletes this line. 
360 



PHORNISSAE 

200 Who now of the gods, granting he wills it so, can 
add aught to thy misfortunes ? Now not even canst 
thou add aught save this, to deem thyself worthy of 
death. Thou art not worthy, nor has any taint of 
guilt touched thy heart. And for this all the more, 
father, call thyself guiltless ; for thou art guiltless, 
though even the gods willed otherwise. What is it 
which has so maddened thee, which has goaded thy 
grief afresh ? What drives thee to the infernal 
regions ? What forces thee out of these ? That 
thou mayst avoid the light of day? Thou dost 
avoid it. That thou mayst flee thy noble palace 
with its high walls, and thy native land ? Thy 
native land, though thou still livest, is dead to thee. 
Dost flee from thy sons and mother? From the 
sight of all men fate has removed thee, and whatever 
death can take away from any man, this has life taken 
from thee. Wouldst avoid the tumult around a 
throne ? They who once in prosperity thronged 
around thee, at thy command have left thee. Whom 
dost thou flee, my father ? 

OEDIPUS 

Myself I flee ; I flee my heart conscious of all 
crimes ; I flee this hand, this sky, the gods ; I flee 
the dread crimes which I committed, though in 
innocence. Do I tread this earth from which whole- 
some grain springs up ? This air do I inhale with 
pestilential lips? Does water quench my thirst, 
or do I enjoy any gift of kindly mother earth ? 
Do I, impious, incestuous, accursed, touch thy pure 
hand ? Do my ears take in sound by which I may 
still hear the name of parent or of son ? I would 
indeed that I might destroy these paths and might 

361 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

manibusque adactis omne qua voces meant 

aditusque verbis tramite angusto patet 

eruere possem ; nata, iam sensum tui, 

quae pars meorum es criminum, infelix pater 230 

fugissem. 

Inhaeret ac recrudescit nefas 
subinde, et aures ingerunt quidquid mihi 
donastis, oculi. cur caput tenebris grave 
non mitto ad umbras Ditis aeternas ? quid hie 
manes meos detineo ? quid terram gravo 
mixtusque superis erro ? quid restat mali ? 
regnum parentes liberi, virtus quoque 
et ingeni sollertis eximium decus 
periere, cuncta sors mihi infesta abstulit. 
lacrimae supererant has quoque eripui mihi. 240 

Absiste ! nullas animus admittit preces 
novamque poenam sceleribus quaerit parem. 
et esse par quae poterit ? infanti quoque 
decreta mors est. fata quis tarn tristia 
sortitus umquam ? videram nondum diem 
uterique nondum solveram clausi moras, 
et iam timebar. protinus quosdam editos 
nox occupavit et novae luci abstulit ; 
mors me antecessit ; aliquis intra viscera 
materna letum praecoquis fati tulit ; 250 

sed numquid et peccavit ? abstrusum, abditum 
dubiumque an essem sceleris infandi reum 
deus egit ; illo teste damnavit parens 
calidoque teneros transuit ferro pedes 
et in alta nemora pabulum misit feris 

362 



PHOENISSAE 

with my hands driven deep pluck out every part 
where voices enter and where a narrow passage gives 
access to the words of men ; then, daughter, thy 
wretched father would have escaped all consciousness 
of thee, who art part and parcel of my crimes. 

231 My guilt sticks fast within me, threatens each 
moment to break out afresh, and my ears pour in upon 
me all that you, my eyes, have bestowed. 1 Why do 
I not plunge this life, weighted with gloom, down to 
the everlasting shades of Dis ? Why here do I detain 
my ghost ? Why do I burden the earth and wander 
amongst the living ? What evil is left for me ? My 
kingdom, parents, children, my manhood, too, and 
the illustrious fame of my cunning wit all these 
have perished, all have been stripped from me by 
hostile chance. Tears were still left me of these, 
too, have I robbed myself. 

241 Stand off ! My soul will not listen to any prayers 
and seeks some new punishment to match its crimes. 
And what match can there be ? Even in my infancy 
I was doomed to death. Who ever drew lot so sad ? 
I had not yet seen the light, was still imprisoned in 
the womb, and already I was held in fear. Some 
there are whom straightway at birth night hath 
seized upon and snatched from their first dawn ; but 
on me death came ere birth. Some, while still 
within the mother's womb, have suffered untimely 
death ; but have they sinned also ? Hidden away, 
confined, my very being in doubt, the god made 
me guilty of a charge unspeakable. On that charge 
my sire condemned me, spitted my slender ankles 
on hot iron, and sent me to the deep forest as prey 

1 Oedipus paradoxically deems that his eyes in their blind- 
ness bestow on him the boon of avoiding sight ; but his ears 



still bring Antigone to his consciousness. 



363 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

avibusque saevis quas Cithaeron noxius 

cruore saepe regio tinctas alit. 

sed quern deus damnavit, abiecit pater, 

mors quoque refugit. praestiti Del phis fidem ; 

genitorem adortus impia stravi nece. 260 

hoc alia pietas redimet : occidi patrem, 

sed matrem amavi. proloqui hymenaeum pudet 

taedasque nostras. has quoque invitum pati 

te coge poenas ; facinus ignotum efferum 

inusitatum effare quod populi horreant, 

quod esse factura nulla non aetas neget, 

quod parricidam pudeat : in patrios toros 

tuli paterno sanguine aspersas manus 

scelerisque pretium maius accepi scelus. 

Leve est paternum facinus ; in thalamos meos 270 
deducta mater, ne parum sceleris foret, 
fecunda nullum crimen hoc maius potest 
natura ferre. si quod etiamnum est tamen, 
qui facere possunt dedimus. abieci necis 
pretium paternae sceptrum et hoc iterum manus 
armavit alias ; optime regni mei 
fatum ipse novi ; nemo sine sacro feret 
illud cruore. magna praesagit mala 
paternus animus, iacta iam sunt semina 
cladis futurae ; spernitur pacti fides. 280 

hie occupato cedere imperio negat, 
ius ille et icti foederis testes deos 
invocat et Argos exul atque urbes movet 
Graias in arma. non levis fessis venit 
ruina Thebis ; tela flammae vulnera 

364 



PHOENISSAE 

for wild beasts and savage birds which baleful 
Cithaeron, oft stained with royal blood, doth breed. 
Yet him whom God condemned, whom his sire cast 
away, hath death also shunned. I kept faith with 
Delphi ; I assailed my father and with impious 
death-stroke slew him. For this another act of 
piety will atone ; I killed my father, true, but my 
mother I loved. Oh, 'tis shame to speak of wed- 
lock and my marriage torches. But this punishment 
also force thyself to bear though against thy will ; 
proclaim thy crime, unheard of, bestial, unexampled, 
at which nations would shudder, which no age 
would believe ever befell, which would put even a 
parricide to shame : into my father's bed I bore hands 
smeared with my father s blood, and there, as the reward 
of my crime, I did worse crime. 

270 A trivial sin is my father's murder ; my mother, 
brought to my marriage chamber, that my guilt might 
be complete, conceived no greater crime than this 
can nature brook. And yet, if there is even now 
worse crime, we have given the world those who can 
commit it. I have flung away the sceptre, price of 
my father's murder, and this, again, has armed other 
hands. I myself best know my kingdom's destiny ; 
no one unstained by sacred blood shall bear sway there. 
Dire misfortunes my father-soul presages. Already 
are sown the seeds of calamity to come ; the plighted 
pact 1 is scorned. The one will not retire from the 
throne he has usurped ; the other proclaims his right, 
calls on the gods to witness the broken bond, and, 
wandering in exile, is rousing Argos and the cities 
of Greece to arms. 'Tis no light destruction that is 
coming on weary Thebes ; weapons, flames, wounds 

1 i.e. between Eteocles and Polynices. 

365 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

instant et istis si quod est maius malum, 
ut esse genitos nemo non ex me sciat. 

ANTIGONA 

Si nulla, genitor, causa vivendi tibi est, 
haec una abunde est, ut pater natos regas 
graviter furentes. tu impii belli minas 290 

avertere unus tuque vaecordes potes 
inhibere iuvenes, civibus pacem dare, 
patriae quietem, foederi laeso fidem. 
vitam tibi ipse si negas, multis negas. 

OEDIPVS 

Illis parentis ullus aut aequi est amor, 
avidis cruoris imperi armorum doli, 
diris, scelestis, breviter ut dicam meis? 
certant in omne facinus et pensi nihil 
ducunt, ubi ipsos ira praecipites agit, 
nefasque nullum per nefas nati putant. 300 

non patris illos tangit afflicti pudor, 
non patria ; regno pectus attonitum furit. 
scio quo ferantur, quanta moliri parent, 
ideoque leti quaero maturam viam 
morique propero, dum in domo nemo est mea 
nocentior me. nata, quid genibus meis 
fles advoluta ? quid prece indomitum domas? 
unum hoc habet fortuna quo possim capi, 
invictus aliis ; sola tu affectus potes 
mollire duros, sola pietatem in domo 310 

docere nostra. nil grave aut miserum est mihi 
quod te sciam voluisse ; tu tantum impera ; 
366 



PHOENISSAE 

press round her and a greater ill than these, if 
greater there be, that all may know I have begotten 
sons. 



ANTIGONE 



If, my father, thou hast no other cause for living, 
this one is more than enough, that as father thou 
mayst restrain thy sons from their fatal frenzy. 
Thou alone canst avert the threats of impious war, 
canst check these mad youths, give peace to our 
citizens, rest to our land, faith to the broken pact. 
If life to thyself thou dost deny, to many dost thou 
deny it. 



OEDIPUS 



Have they any love for father or for right, they 
who lust for blood, power, arms, treachery, they the 
cruel, the accursed, in brief, my sons ? They vie 
one with the other in every crime, and have no 
scruple where passion drives them headlong ; im- 
piously born, they count nothing impious. No feeling 
for their stricken father, none for their fatherland, 
moves them ; their hearts are mad with lust of 
empire. I know well whither they tend, what 
monstrous deeds they are planning, and for this 
cause I seek an early path to destruction, rush on 
my death, while still there is none in my house 
more guilty than myself. Daughter, why dost thou 
fall weeping at my knees ? Why seekst with prayer 
to conquer my unconquerable resolve ? This is the 
one means by which fortune can take me captive, 
invincible in all else ; thou only canst soften my 
hard heart, thou only canst teach piety in our house. 
Nothing is heavy or grievous to me which I know 
thou hast desired. Do thou but command ; I, 

367 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

hie Oedipus Aegaea transnabit freta 
iubente te, flammasque quas Siculo vomit 
de monte tellus igneos volvens globos, 
excipiet ore seque serpenti offeret, 
quae saeva furto nemoris Herculeo furit ; 
iubente te praebebit alitibus iecur 
iubente te vel vivet. 



368 



PHOENISSAE 

Oedipus, at thy bidding will swim the Aegean sea, 
will drink the flames which earth from the Sicilian 
mountains belches forth, pouring down balls of fire, 
will beard the dragon still savagely raging in the 
grove at the theft of Hercules; at thy bidding will 
offer my liver to the birds at thy bidding e'en will 
live. 

The first episode seems to be complete here, except for the 
commenting chorus which would naturally follow. 
OEDIPUS has temporarily yielded to his daughter's 
will. 



369 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 



NUNTIUS 1 
***** 

Exemplum in ingens regia stirpe editum 820 

Tbebae paventes arma fraterna invocant 
rogantque tectis arceas patriis faces. 
non sunt minae, iam propius accessit malum ; 
nam regna repetens frater et pactas vices 
in bella cunctos Graeciae populos agit. 
septena muros castra Thebanos premunt. 
succurre, prohibe pariter et bellum et scelus. 

OEDIPVS 

Ego ille sum qui scelera committi vetem 
et abstineri sanguine a caro manus 
doceam ? magister iuris et amoris pii 330 

ego sum ? meorum facinorum exempla appetunt, 
me nunc secuntur ; laudo et agnosco libens, 
exhortor, aliquid ut patre hoc dignum gerant. 
agite, o propago cara, generosam indolem 



1 Leo, with Ety y assigns this speech to Antigone: Richter, 
with A, gives it to Nuntius. 

370 



PHOENISSAE 



The following passage fittingly opens the second episode. 
Although some editors would assign it to ANTIGONE, 
it seems more properly to belong to a messenger who 
has just arrived, for the double reason that it gives 
fresher information from Thebes than ANTIGONE 
would naturally possess; and that OEDIPUS, after 
the speech to his daughter with which the previous 
episode ended } would hardly address to her as rough 
a reply as he uses in his next speech. 

MESSENGER 

Thee, sprung from regal ancestry to be our great 
exemplar, Thebes calls to her aid, trembling at 
fratricidal strife, and prays that thou fend off from 
thy country's homes the brands of war. These are 
no mere threats ; already is destruction at our gates ; 
for the brother T demands his turn to rule according 
to the bond, and is marshalling to war all the peoples 
of Greece. Seven bands are encamped against the 
walls of Thebes. Haste to our aid ; prevent in one 
act both war and crime. 

OEDIPUS 

Am I one to forbid crime and teach hands to 
refrain from the blood of loved ones ? Am 1 a teacher 
of righteousness and love of kin ? Tis from my 
crimes they seek their pattern, 'tis my example they 
follow now. I praise them and gladly acknowledge 
them as sons ; I urge them on to do something 
worthy of such a father. Go on, dear offspring, 
prove your noble breeding by your deeds ; surpass 

1 Polynices. 

371 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

probate factis, gloriam ac laudes meas 

superate et aliquid facite propter quod patrem 

adhuc iuvet vixisse. facietis, scio : 

sic estis orti. scelere defungi haut levi, 

haut usitato tanta nobilitas potest. 

ferte arma, facibus petite penetrales deos 340 

frugemque flamma metite natalis soli, 

miscete cuncta, rapite in exitium omnia, 

disicite passim moenia, in planum date, 

templis deos obruite, maculates lares 

conflate, ab imo tota considat domus ; 

urbs concremetur primus a thalamis meis 

incipiat ignis. 

ANTIOONA 

Mitte violentum impetum 
doloris ac te publica exorent mala, 
auctorque placidae liberis pacis veni. 



OEUIPVS 

Vides modestae deditum menti senem 350 

placidaeque amantem pacis ad partes vocas ? 
tumet animus ira, fervet iminensus dolor, 
maiusque quam quod casus et iuvenum furor 
conatur aliquid cupio. non satis est adhuc 
civile bellum ; frater in fratrem ruat ; 
nee hoc sat est ; quod debet, ut fiat nefas 
de more nostro, quod meos deceat toros, 
date arma matri. nemo me ex his eruat 
silvis ; latebo rupis exesae cavo 

aut sepe densa corpus abstrusum tegam. 360 

hinc aucupabor verba rumoris vagi 
et saeva fratrum bella, quod possum, audiam. 

372 



PHOENISSAE 

my fame and praises and do some deed whereat your 
father may rejoice that he has lived till now. You 
will do it, I know : of such mind were you born ; no 
trivial, no common crime can such high birth per- 
form. Forward your arms ! With torches have at 
your household gods ; reap with fire the ripened 
grain of your native land ; confound all things, hurry 
all to destruction ; on all sides throw down the walls, 
raze them to the ground ; bury the gods beneath 
their own temples ; the defiled deities of your 
hearths melt in the fire, and let our whole house 
from its foundations fall ; let the city be consumed 
and be my marriage chamber the first to feel the 
flames. 

ANTIGONE 

Give o'er this raging storm of grief; let the 
public calamities prevail with thee ; go to thy sons 
as the adviser of calm peace. 

OEDIPUS 

Seest thou an old man given to gentle thoughts ? 
dost summon me as lover of calm peace to take her 
part ? My heart swells with rage, my smarting grief 
burns measureless, and I long for some crime more 
dreadful than what the casual madness of young men 
attempts. Not enough for me is war that as yet is 
between citizens ; let brother rush on brother. Nor 
is that enough ; that, as is due, a horror may be 
wrought after my fashion, one that may befit my 
marriage-couch, arm ye your mother. Let no one 
drag me from these woods ! I'll lurk in the cliffs' 
wave-worn caves or hide away in the thick under- 
brush. Here will I catch at vague rumour's words 
and the dire strife of brothers, as I can, will hear. 

373 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 



IOCASTA 



Felix Agaue ! facinus horrendum manu, 
qua fecerat, gestavit et spolium tulit 
cruenta nati maenas in partes dati ; 
fecit scelus, sed misera non ultro suo 
sceleri occucurrit. hoc leve est quod sum nocens ; 
feci nocentes. hoc quoque etiamnunc leve est ; 
peperi nocentes. derat aerumnis meis, 
ut et hostem amarem. bruma ter posuit nives 370 
et tertia iam falce decubuit Ceres, 
ut exul errat natus et patria caret 
profugusque regum auxilia Graiorum rogat. 
gener est Adrasti, cuius imperio mare 
quod scindit Isthmos regitur ; hie gentes suas 
septemque secum regna ad auxilium trahit 
genero. quid optem quidve decernam haut scio. 
regnum reposcit ; causa repetentis bona est, 
mala sic petentis. vota quae faciam parens ? 
utrimque natum video ; nil possum pie 380 

pietate salva facere. quodcumque alteri 
optabo nato fiet alterius malo. 
sed utrumque quamvis diligam affectu pari, 
quo causa melior sorsque deterior trahit 
inclinat animus semper infirmo favens. 
miseros magis fortuna conciliat suis. 



1 i.e. Polynices, who has now become a public foe of 
Thebes. 

374 



PHOENISSAE 

It is possible that the following fragments belong to 
another play. The presence of ANTIGONE in 
Thebes, notwithstanding her resolve to remain with 
her father, would strengthen this view. 

JOCASTA 

Fortunate Agave ! she carried her ghastly crime 
in the hand that wrought it, and as a bloody maenad 
bore spoil of her dismembered son. She wrought a 
crime, but not wantonly did the wretched woman 
go to meet her crime. 'Tis but a trivial thing that 
I am guilty ; I have made others guilty. This, too, 
bad as it is, is trivial ; I have borne guilty sons. 'Twas 
as yet lacking to my woes that I should love even 
my enemy. 1 Thrice have the snows of winter fallen, 
three harvests now have yielded to the sickle, while 
my son in exile wanders, expatriate, and as an outcast 
begs aid from the Greek kings. And now he is son- 
in-law of Adrastus, whose sway is over the waters 
which Isthmus cleaves, and who brings with him his 
own tribes and seven kingdoms to the aid of his 
son-in-law. What I should pray for, or which side 
espouse, I know not. He demands back the king- 
dom ; to reseek it is an honest plea, but ill to seek 
it thus. What should be a mother's prayer ? On 
either side I see a son ; I can do nothing piously 
that is not impious. Whatever blessing I shall ask 
for one, to the other will prove a curse. But, though 
I love both equally, whither the better cause and 
the worse fortune draw, my heart inclines, which 
always takes the weaker side. Misfortune knits 
the wretched closer to their kin. 

[Enter MESSENGER in haste.] 

375 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

SATELLES 

Regina, dum tu flebiles questus cies 
terisque tempus, saeva nudatis adest 
acies in armis ; aera iam bcllum cient 
aquilaque pugnam signifer mota vocat ; 890 

septena reges bella dispositi parant, 
animo pari Cadmea progenies subit, 
cursu citato miles hinc atque hinc ruit. 
viden ? atra nubes pulvere abscondit diem 
fumoque similes campus in caelum erigit 
nebulas, equestri fracta quas tellus pede 
summittit et, si vera metuentes vident, 
infesta fulgent signa, subrectis adest 
frons prima telis, aurea clarum nota 
nomen ducum vexilla praescriptum ferunt. 400 

i, redde amorem fratribus, pacem omnibus, 
et impia arma matris oppositu impedi. 

ANTIGONA 

Perge, o parens, perge et cita celerem gradum, 
compesce tela, fratribus ferrum excute, 
nudum inter enses pectus infestos tene ! 
aut solve bellum, mater, aut prima excipe. 

IOCASTA 

Ibo, ibo et armis obvium opponam caput, 
stabo inter arma ; petere qui fratrem volet, 
petat ante matrem. tela, qui fuerit pius, 
rogante ponat matre ; qui non est pius 410 

incipiat a me. fervidos iuvenes anus 
tenebo, nullum teste me net nefas ; 
376 



PHOENISSAE 

MESSENGER 

queen, whilst thou art uttering tearful com- 
plaints and wasting time, the fierce battle-line with 
bared swords is at hand ; the trumpets' blare sounds 
to war, the standard-bearer with eagle advanced 
signals for contest ; the kings, each in his place, are 
setting their sevenfold battle in array, while with 
equal courage Cadmus' race advances ; at the double- 
quick the soldiers on either side rush on. Dost see 
them ? A dark cloud of dust hides the day ; the 
plain lifts heavenward dense, smoke-like billows 
which the earth, beaten by horses' hoofs, sends up ; 
and, if terror-stricken eyes see aught aright, hostile 
standards are gleaming there ; the front rank, with 
lifted spears, is close at hand, and the battle-flags 
have the leaders' names clearly limned in golden 
characters. Go, restore love to brothers, peace to 
us all, and let a mother be the barrier to stay unholy 
arms. 

ANTIGONE 

Hasten, mother, hasten on flying feet ! hold back 
their weapons, strike the steel from my brothers' 
hands, set thy bared breast between their hostile 
swords ! Either stop the war, mother, or be the 
first to feel it. 

JOCASTA 

1 go, I go, and my own life will I set against their 
arms ; I'll stand between their arms ; and he who shall 
wish to attack his brother must attack his mother first. 
Let the more filial lay down his arms at a mother's 
prayer ; let the unfilial begin with me. These fiery 
youths, old though I be, will I restrain ; there shall 
be no impious crime committed in my sight ; or, if 

377 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

aut si aliquod et me teste committi potest, 
non fiet unum. 



ANTIGONA 

Signa collatis micant 
vicina signis, clamor hostilis fremit ; 
scelus in propinquo est ; occupa, mater, preces. 
et ecce motos fletibus credas meis, 
sic agmen armis segne compositis venit. 

SATELLKS 

Procedit acies tarda, sed properant duces. 

IOCASTA 

Quis me procellae turbine insane vehens 420 

volucer per auras ventus aetherias aget ? 
quae Sphinx vel atra nube subtexens diem 
Stymphalis avidis praepetem pennis feret ? 
aut quae per altas aeris rapiet vias 
Harpyia saevi regis observans famem 
et inter acies proiciet raptam duas ? 

SATELLES 

Vadit furenti similis aut etiam furit. 
sagitta qualis Parthica velox manu 
excussa fertur, qualis insane ratis 

premente vento rapitur, aut qualis cadit 430 

delapsa caelo stella, cum stringens polum 
rectam citatis ignibus rumpit viam, 
attonita cursu fugit et binas statim 
diduxit acies. victa materna prece 
haesere bella, iamque in alternam necem 
378 



PHOENISSAE 

e'en in my sight one crime can be committed, it shall 
not be only one. 

ANTIGONE 

The opposing standards gleam face to face, the 
hostile battle-cry is sounding, the crime is near at 
hand ; forestall it, mother, with thy prayers ! And 
see, you might deem them moved by tears of mine, 
so sluggishly moves the line with weapons held at 
rest. 

MESSENGER 

The line advances slowly, but the leaders haste. 

JOCASTA 

What swift wind with the storm-blast's mad whirl 
will carry me through the air of heaven? What 
Sphinx, what Stymphalian bird, with its dark cloud 
veiling day, will speed me headlong on eager wings ? 
Or what Harpy, hovering over the barbarian king's l 
famished board, will hurry me along the highways 
of the air, hurry and fling me 'twixt the two battle- 
lines? 

[Exit] 

MESSENGER [looking after her] 

She goes like a mad thing, or is mad indeed. 
Swift as a dart hurled by some Parthian's hand, or as 
a vessel driven on by wild, raging winds, or as a star, 
dislodged from the firmament, when, sweeping o'er the 
heavens, with swift fire it cleaves its unswerving way, 
so has the frenzied queen sped on and at once has 
parted the two battle-lines. Stayed by a mother's 
prayer the battle hangs ; and now the bands, eager to 
1 See Index s.v. "Phineus." 

379 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 
illinc et hinc miscere cupientes mantis 
librata dextra tela suspensa tenent. 
paci favetur, omnium ferrum iacet 
cessatve tectum ; vibrat in fratrum manu. 
laniata canas mater ostendit comas, 440 

rogat abnuentes, inrigat fletu genas. 
negare matri, qui diu dubitat, potest. 

IOCASTA 

In me arma et ignes vertite, in me omnis ruat 
unam iuventus quaeque ab Inacbio venit 
animosa muro quaeque Thebana ferox 
descendit arce ; civis atque hostis simul 
hunc petite ventrem, qui dedit fratres viro. 
haec membra passim spargite ac divellite. 
ego utrumque peperi ponitis ferrum ocius ? 
an dico et ex quo ? dexteras matri date, 450 

date dum piae sunt. error invitos adhuc 
fecit nocentes, omne Fortunae fuit 
peccantis in nos crimen ; hoc primum nefas 
inter scientes geritur. in vestra manu est, 
utrum velitis : sancta si pietas placet, 
donate matri pacem l ; si placuit scelus, 
maius paratum est media se opponit parens. 
proinde bellum tollite aut belli moram. 

1 So Leo and Richttr, with <a : matri pacta L. Midler: date 
arma matri saeva Tachau ' domate Martem pace M. Mutter. 

380 



PHOENISSAE 

join from both sides in mutual slaughter, hold their 
swords poised in lifted hands. They incline to peace, 
the swords of all are lowered, or idly sheathed ; but 
they still quiver in the brothers' hands. The mother 
shows them her hoary hair, tearing it, beseeching 
them as they stubbornly refuse, and floods her cheeks 
with weeping. Who wavers long may say his mother 
"No!" 

[The scene shifts to the field before Thebes, between the 

battle-lines.] 

JOCASTA 

[Kneeling between her two hostile sons.] 
Against me turn your arms and torches ; against 
me only let every warrior charge, both those who 
come with high courage from the city of Inachus, 1 
and those who from the Theban citadel descend 
thirsting for the fray. 'Townsman and enemy, to- 
"ether attack this womb which bore my husband 
brothers. Rend these limbs asunder and scatter 
them everywhere. I bore you both lay you not 
down your arms with speed ? Or shall I tell from 
what father, too ? Your right hands to your mother 
give them, give while they are still filial. Ignorance 
till now against our will hath made us 2 guilty ; the 
whole crime was Fortune's, who sinned against us; 
this is the first crime wrought between those who 
know. It is yours to choose which thing you will : 
if holy affection please you, grant to your mother 
peace ; if crime has pleased, a greater is to hand 
your mother sets herself between you. Therefore 
rid ye of strife or of this stay of strife. 3 

1 Argos. 2 t e. Oedipus and Jocasta especially. 

8 i.e. or kill me who stand between you to stay your 
fighting. 

381 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Sollicita cui nunc mater alterna prece 
verba admovebo? misera quern amplectar prius? 460 
in utramque partem ducor aflfectu pari. 
hie afuit ; sed pacta si fratrum valent, 
nunc alter aberit. ergo iam numquam duos 
nisi sic videbo ? 

lunge complexus prior, 
qui tot labores totque perpessus mala 
longo parentem fessus exilio vides. 
accede propius, elude vagina impium 
ensem et trementem iamque cupientem excuti 
hastam solo defige ; maternum tuo 
coire pectus pectori clipeus vetat ; 470 

hunc quoque repone. vinculo frontem exue 
tegumenque capitis triste belligeri leva 
et ora matri redde. quo vultus refers 
acieque pavida fratris observas manum ? 
affusa totum corpus amplexu tegam, 
tuo cruori per meum fiet via. 
quid dubius haeres ? an times matris fid em ? 

POLYNICES 

Timeo ; nihil iam iura naturae valent. 
post ista fratrum exempla ne matri quidem 
fides habenda est. 

IOCASTA 

Redde iam capulo manum, 480 
astringe galeam, laeva se clipeo inserat ; 
dum frater exarmatur, armatus mane. 

1 i.e. in enmity. 
382 



PHOENISSAE 

459 To which of you now shall your anxious mother 
with alternate prayers address her words ? Whom 
shall I in my wretchedness first embrace ? To both 
sides am I drawn with equal love. This son has 
been absent from me ; but if the brothers keep their 
pact, now will the other be away. And shall I never 
see you both, save thus ? l 

[Turning to POLYNICES] 

464 Come thou first to thy mother's arms, thou who 
hast endured so many toils, so many misfortunes, 
and, worn with long exile, seest thy mother at last. 
Come nearer, sheathe thine impious sword, and thy 
spear, which is even now quivering and eager to be 
thrown, thrust it in the ground. Thy shield keeps 
thee from coming close to thy mother, breast to 
breast ; put that by, too. Unbind thy brow, take 
the grim helmet from thy warlike head, and let thy 
mother see thy face. Why dost thou look away, 
and with fearful glance watch thy brother's hand ? 
I will cover thy whole body with my protecting 
embrace and allow way to thy blood only through 
my own. Why dost thou still halt in doubt ? Dost 
fear thy mother's pledge ? 

POLYNICES 

I am in fear ; no longer do nature's laws avail. 
Since this example of a brother's faithlessness, even 
a mother's pledge may not be trusted. 

JOCASTA 

Put now hand to hilt again, bind on thy helmet, 
let thy left hand clasp its shield ; and while thy 
brother unarms, remain thou armed. 
[She turns to ETEOCLES.] 

383 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Tu pone ferrum, causa qui ferri es prior, 
si pacis odium est, furere si bello placet, 
inducias te mater exiguas rogat, 
ferat ut reverso post fugam nato oscula 
vel prima vel suprema. dum pacem peto, 
audite inermes. ille te, tu ilium times ? 
ego utrumque, sed pro utroque. quid strictum abnuis 
recondere ensem ? qualibet gaude mora ; 490 

id gerere bellum cupitis, in quo est optimum 
viiici. vereris fratris infesti dolos ? 
quotiens necesse est fallere aut falli a suis, 
patiare potius ipse quam facias scelus. 
sed ne verere ; mater insidias et hinc 
et rursus illinc abiget. exoro ? an patri 
invideo vestro ? veni ut arcerem nefas 
an ut viderem propius ? hie ferrum abdidit, 
reclinis hasta est, arma defixa incubant. 

Ad te preces nunc, nate, maternas feram, 500 

sed ante lacrimas. teneo longo tempore 
petita votis ora. te profugum solo 
patrio penates regis externi tegunt, 
te maria tot diversa, tot casus vagum 
egere. non te duxit in thalamos parens 
comitata primos, nee sua festas manu 
ornavit aedes, nee sacra laetas faces 
vitta revinxit ; dona non auro graves 
gazas socer, non arva, non urbes dedit ; 
dotale bellum est. hostium es factus gener, 510 
patria remotus hospes alieni laris, 



384 



PHOENISSAE 

488 Do thou put by the sword, who art the sword's 
first cause. If thou liatest peace, if 'tis thy pleasure 
to rage in war, thy mother begs brief truce of thee, 
that to her son returned from exile she may give a 
kiss the first, perchance the last. While I beg for 
peace, hearken ye, unarmed. Doth he fear thee ; 
thou, him ? I fear you both, but for the sake of 
both. Why dost refuse to sheathe thy drawn sword ? 
Be glad of any delay ; ye both seek to wage a war 
wherein 'twere best to be o'ercome. Dost thou fear 
thy hostile brother's wiles? When one must either 
cheat or be cheated by one's own, do thou thyself 
suffer rather than commit the crime. But do not 
fear ; thy mother will shield thee from snares on 
either hand. Do I prevail ? or must I envy l your 
father ? Have I come to prevent crime ? or to see 
it done before my eyes? [ETEOCLES yields to her.] He 
has sheathed his sword, his spear droops, his arms 
are laid aside. 

[She turns back to POLYNICES.] 

500 N ow to thee, son, thy mother will bring her 
prayers, but her tears first. After a weary time I hold 
the face I prayed to see. Thee, an outcast from thy 
native soil, the gods of a foreign king protect ; thee 
many seas far distant, many fates have driven wan- 
dering. Thy mother, at thy side, did not lead thee 
to thy first bridal chamber, nor with her own hand 
deck the festal hall, nor with sacred fillets wreathe 
the glad torches. As wedding gifts no rich golden 
treasure, no fields, no cities did thy father-in-law 
bestow : war is thy bridal gift. Thou hast become 
thine enemy's son, far from thy land, guest of an 

1 i.e. his blindness, which would shield her from unhallowed 
sights. 

385 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SKNECA 

externa consecutus, expulsus tuis, 
sine crimine exul. ne quid e fatis tibi 
desset paternis, hoc quoque ex illis habes, 
eiTasse thalamis. 

Nate post multos mihi 
remisse soles, nate suspensae metus 
et spes parentis, cuius aspectum deos 
semper rogavi, cum tuus reditus mihi 
tantum esset erepturus, adventu tuo 
quantum daturus : " quando pro te desinam " 520 
dixi " timere ? " dixit inridens deus : 
"ipsum timebis." nempe nisi bellum foret, 
ego te carerem ; nempe si tu non fores, 
bello carerem. a, triste conspectus datur 
pretium tui durumque, sed matri placet, 
nine modo recedant arma, dum nullum nefas 
Mars saevus audet ; hoc quoque est magnum nefas, 
tarn prope fuisse. stupeo et exanguis tremo, 
cum stare fratres hinc et hinc video duos 
sceleris sub ictu. membra quassantur metu ; 530 
quam paene mater maius aspexi nefas, 
quam quod miser videre non potuit pater, 
licet timore facinoris tanti vacem 
videamque iam nil tale, sum infelix tamen 
quod paene vidi. 

Per decem mensum graves 
uteri labores perque pietatem inclitae 
precor sororis et per irati sibi 
genas parentis, scelere quas nullo nocens, 
erroris a se dira supplicia exigens, 
hausit nefandas moenibus patriis faces 54-0 

averte, signa bellici retro agminis 
flecte. ut recedas, magna pars sceleris tameD 
vestri peracta est ; vidit hostili grege 

386 



PHOENISSAE 

alien house, seeking another's, driven from thine own, 
exiled for no fault. That thou mightst lack nothing 
of thy father's fates, this also thou hast of them, that 
thou hast erred in marriage. 

515 O son, returned to' me after so many years, son, 
fear and hope of thy anxious mother, for sight of 
whom I have ever prayed the gods, though thy 
return was destined to take as much from me as by 
thy coming it could give : " When shall I cease to 
fear for thee ? ' I cried ; and the god, mocking me, 
answered : " Tis himself thou shalt fear." Surely if 
there were no war, I should be without thee ; surely 
if thou wert not here, I should be free from war. 
Oh, bitter price and hard, to pay for a sight of thee ; 
but thy mother pays it willingly. Only let thy hostile 
hosts fall back while as yet savage Mars dares no 
impious crime. Even this is an outrageous crime, 
that they have come so near. I am appalled ; pale 
am I and I tremble to see two brothers stand, one 
here, one there, 'neath guilt's o'erhanging stroke. 
My limbs quake with fear : how near did I, thy 
mother, come to seeing greater infamy than that 
which thy wretched father could not bear to see. 
Though I am free from fear of so great a crime, and 
now see no such thing, still I am unhappy because I 
almost saw it. 

635 By the womb that bore thee for ten weary 
months, by the devotion of thy noble sister, by thy 
self-hating father's eyes which he, though innocent, 
yet, seeking to inflict on himself dire punishment for 
his mistake, tore from their sockets save thy 
country's walls from the accursed torch ; turn back 
again the standards of this warring host. Though 
thou shouldst retire, still is the great part of your sin 
already done ; thy country has seen its plains o'errun 

387 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

campos repleri patria, fulgentes procul 

armis catervas vidit, equitatu levi 

Cadmea frangi prata et excelsos rotis 

volitare proceres, igne flagrantes trabes 

fumare, cineri quae petunt nostras domos, 

fratresque (facinus quod novum et Thebis fuit) 

in se ruentes. totus hoc exercitus, 550 

hoc populus omnis ; utraque hoc vidit soror 

genetrixque vidi : nam pater debet sibi 

quod ista non spectavit. occurrat tibi 

nunc Oedipus, quo iudice erroris quoque 

poenae petuntur. ne, precor, ferro erue 

patriam ac penates neve, quas regere expetis, 

everte Thebas. quis tenet mentem furor ? 

petendo patriam perdis ? ut fiat tua, 

vis esse nullam ? quin tuae causae nocet 

ipsum hoc quod armis uris infestis solum 560 

segetesque adultas sternis et totos fugam 

edis per agros. nemo sic vastat sua ; 

quae corripi igne, quae meti gladio iubes 

aliena credis. rex sit ex vobis uter, 

manente regno quaerite. haec telis petis 

flammisque tecta ? poteris has Amphionis 

quassare moles ? nulla quas struxit manus 

stridente tardum machina ducens onus, 

sed convocatus vocis et citharae sono 

per se ipse summas venit in turres lapis 570 

haec saxa franges ? victor hinc spolia auferes 

vinctosque duces patris aequales tui, 

matresque ab ipso coniugum raptas sinu 

saevus catena miles imposita trahet ? 

adulta virgo, mixta captivo gregi, 

Thebana nuribus munus Argolicis eat ? 



388 



PHOENISSAE 

by hostile hordes, has seen armed squadrons gleaming 
from afar, the Cadmean meadows trampled by flying 
hoofs, princes in their chariots careering high, the 
smoke and flames of blazing torches which seek to burn 
our homes, and brothers (a crime new even to Thebes) 
rushing upon each other. This crime the whole army 
saw, this, all the people, this, both thy sisters saw and I, 
thy mother, saw for thy father owes it to his own act 
that he beheld not such deeds. Let Oedipus stand 
before thee now, in whose judgment even for error 
is penalty demanded. Do not, I beg of thee, with 
the sword destroy thy country and thy household 
gods, nor overthrow Thebes, which thou seekst to 
rule. What madness holds thee ? By seeking thy 
land wouldst wreck it? to make it thine, wouldst 
have it no land at all ? Nay, thou harmst thine own 
cause in this very act of harrying the land with 
hostile arms, trampling the full-grown crops, and 
spreading terror through the whole country-side. 
No one works such havoc on his own ; what thou 
bidst be plundered with fire and reaped with sword, 
thou deemst another's. Question whether of you 
be king, but let the kingdom stand. These homes 
dost thou seek with sword and fire ? Wilt have the 
heart to batter these walls which Amphion built, 
whose stones no hand set in place, moving the slow 
weight with creaking crane, but, marshalled by 
sound of singing and of lyre, each stone of its own 
accord came to the turrets' top wilt batter down 
these stones ? Wilt thou bear spoils hence as victor, 
and shall conquered chieftains, thy father's friends, 
and matrons torn from their husbands' very arms, be 
led off in chains by thy rough soldiery? Shall 
Thebes' grown maidens, mingled with the captive 
herd, go as gifts to the dames of Argos ? Or shall 

$89 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

an et ipsa, palmas vincta post tergum datas, 
mater triumph i praeda fraterni vehar ? 
potesne cives leto et exitio datos 

videre passim ? moenibus caris potes 680 

hostem admovere, sanguine et flamma potes 
implere Thebas ? tarn ferus durum geris 
saevumque in iras pectus ? et nondum imperas 
quid sceptra facient ? pone vaesanos, precor, 
animi tumores teque pietati refer. 

POLYNICES 

Vt profugus errem ? semper ut patria arcear 
opemque gentis hospes externae sequar ? 
quid paterer aliud, si fefellissem fidem ? 
si peierassem ? fraudis alienae dabo 
poenas, at ille praemium scelerum feret? 590 

iubes abire ; matris imperio obsequor. 
da quo revertar. regia frater mea 
habitet superbus, parva me abscondat casa, 
hanc date repulso, liceat exiguo lare 
pensare regnum. coniugi donum datus 
arbitria thalami dura felicis feram 
humilisque socerum lixa dominantem sequar ? 
in servitutem cadere de regno grave est. 

IOCASTA 

Si regna quaeris nee potest sceptro manus 
vacare saevo, multa quae possunt peti 600 

in orbe toto quaelibet tellus dabit. 
hinc nota Baccho Tmolus attollit iuga 
qua lata terris spatia frugiferis iacent, 
390 



PHOENISSAE 

I myself, with hands bound behind my back, thy 
mother, be borne as prize in thy triumph o'er a 
brother ? Canst thou bear to see thy countrymen 
given to death and destruction on every hand ? 
Against these dear walls canst thou lead the enemy, 
canst fill Thebes with blood and fire ? Art thou so 
wild, is thy heart so hard, so full of savage rage ? 
And thou art not yet a king what will the sceptre 
do ? Oh, I beseech thee, allay the mad ferment of 
thy soul, and come back to duty's ways. 

POLYNICKS 

That I may wander outcast ? That I may be for 
ever shut out from my country and as a stranger 
look to the bounty of an alien race ? What worse 
should I suffer if I had broken faith, if I had forsworn 
myself? Am I to pay the penalty of another's sin, 
while he enjoys the profit of his crimes ? Thou 
bidst me go ; I bend to my mother's will. Show 
me whither I shall get me back. Let my haughty 
brother dwell in my palace, let a little hut hide me 
away ; this grant to the banished brother, let it be 
mine to match a kingdom with a paltry hearth. A 
wife's mere chattel, shall I bear the harsh sway of a 
rich bride and, like a humble camp-follower, attend 
upon her domineering father? To fall from a king's 
estate to slavery is hard. 

JOCASTA 

If thou seekst a king's estate, and the harsh 
sceptre thy hand cannot forego, any land in the 
whole world will offer many kingdoms to be won. 
Here Tmolus lifts his ridges, the Wine-god's haunts, 
where stretch broad plains of grain-producing lands, 

391 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

et qua trahens opulenta Pactolus vada 

inundat auro rura ; nee laetis minus 

Maeandros arvis flectit errantes aquas, 

rapidusque campos fertiles Hermus secat. 

hinc grata Cereri Gargara et dives solum 

quod Xantluis ambit nivibus Idaeis tumens; 

hinc qua relinquit nomen lonii mare L 610 

faucesque Abydo Sestos opposita premit; 

aut qua latus 2 iam propior orienti dedit 

tutamque crebris portibus Lyciam videt. 

haec regna ferro quaere, in hos populos ferat 

socer arma fortis, has tuo sceptro paret 

tradatque gentes. hoc adliuc regnum puta 

tenere patrem. melius exilium est tibi 

quam reditus iste. crimine alieno exulas, 

tuo redibis. melius istis viribus 

nova regna nullo scelere maculata appetes. 620 

quin ipse frater arma comitatus tua 

tibi militabit. 

Vade et id bellum gere 
in quo pater materque pugnanti tibi 
favere possint. regna cum scelere omnibus 
sunt exiliis graviora. nunc belli mala 
propone, dubias Martis incerti vices : 
licet omne tecum Graeciae robur trahas, 
licet arma longe miles ac late explicet, 
fortuna belli semper ancipiti in loco est, 
quodcumque Mars decernit. exaequat duos, b'30 
licet impares sint, gladius ; et spes et metus 
Fors caeca versat. praemium incertum petis, 
certum scelus. favisse fac votis deos 

1 So Richfer : Leo, with CD, maris : Biicheler conjectures 
Ionium Thetis : Wi'amowitz qua reliquit nomen Inois mari. 

2 So Leo, with w : Richter quae : N. H&n&ius aut qua 
Thetis se. 

392 



PHOENISSAE 

and where Pactolus, rolling his rich waves, o'erflows 
the fields with gold ; nor does Meander through 
meadows less joyful bend his wandering waters, and 
swift Hermus cleaves the fertile plains. Here is 
Gargara, beloved of Ceres, and the soil which rich 
Xanthus compasses, swollen by Ida's snows ; here the 
land where the Ionian sea gives up its name, and 
Sestos, over against Abydos, hugs the narrow strait 1 ; 
or where, now nearer to the east, it curves and sees 
Lycia secure with its many harbours. These kingdoms 
seek thou with the sword ; against these peoples let 
thy brave father in-law bear arms ; these tribes let him 
acquire and deliver to thy sway. As for this king- 
dom, deem that thy father still holds it fast. Better 
is exile for thee than such return as this. Through 
another's sin thou livest in exile, through thine 
own wilt thou return. With yonder forces, 'twere 
better to seek new realms, stained by no crime. 
Nay, thy brother's self, accompanying thine arms, 
will fight for thee. 

622 Go thou, then, and wage such warfare that, 
as thou fightest, thy father and thy mother may 
pray for thy success. Kingdoms won by crime are 
heavier than any exile. Now picture to thy- 
self war's mishaps, the wavering chances of un- 
certain Mars : though thou bring with thee the 
whole strength of Greece, though thy armed soldiery 
spread far and wide, the fortune of war hangs ever 
in doubtful scale, according as Mars determines. The 
sword makes two warriors equal though they be ill- 
matched ; both hope and fear are in blind Fortune's 
hand. The prize thou seekst is uncertain ; certain, 
the crime. Grant that all the gods have been 

1 The Hellespont 

393 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

omnes tuis ; cessere et aversi fugam 

petiere cives, clade funesta iacens 

obtexit agros miles exultes licet 

victorque fratris spolia deiecti geras, 

frangenda palma est. quale tu hoc bellum putas, 

in quo execrandum victor admittit nefas, 

si gaudet ? hunc quern vincere infelix cupis, 640 

cum viceris, lugebis. infaustas age 

dimitte pugnas, libera patriam metu, 

luctu parentes. 

POLYNICES 

Sceleris et fraudis suae 
poenas nefandus frater ut nullas ferat ? 

IOCASTA 

Ne metue. poenas et quidem solvet graves : 
regnabit. est haec poena. si dubitas, avo 
patrique crede ; Cadmus hoc dicet tibi 
Cadmique proles, sceptra Thebano fuit 
impune nulli gerere, nee quisquam fide 
rupta tenebit ilia, iam numeres licet 650 

fratrem inter istos. 

ETEOCLES 

Numeret, est tanti mihi 

cum regibus iacere. te turbae exulum 
ascribe. 

IOCASTA 

Regna, dummodo invisus tuis. 
394 



PHOENISSAE 

favourable to thy prayers ; grant that the citizens 
have given way, that they have turned and fled, that 
soldiers, lying in bloody heaps, cover the fields 
though thou shouldst triumph and as victor bear off 
the spoils of thy conquered brother, broken must 
be the victor's palm. What manner of war deemst 
thou that, wherein the conqueror takes on him the 
curse of guilt if he rejoices? Him whom, unhappy 
man, thou art so eager to o'ercome, when thou hast 
o'ercome thou wilt lament. Oh, then, forego this 
unhallowed strife, free thy country from fear, from 
agony thy parents. 

POLYNICES 

That my cursed brother may receive no penalty 
for his crime and treachery ? 

JOCASTA 

Have no fear. Penalty, yes, heavy penalty shall he 
pay : he shall reign. That is the penalty. If thou dost 
doubt it, believe thy grandsire and thy sire ; Cadmus 
will tell thee this, and the race of Cadmus. No 
Theban hath e'er borne sceptre without penalty, nor 
will any hold it who has broken faith. Now mayst 
thou count thy brother amongst these. 

ETEOCLES 

So let him count me ; 'tis worth the price, me- 
thinks, to lie with kings. 

[To POLYNICES.] 
652 Thee I enrol amongst the exiled throng. 

JOCASTA 
Reign, then, but hated by thy people, 

895 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

ETEOCLES 

Regnare non vult esse qui invisus timet ; 
simul ista mundi conditor posuit deus, 
odium atque regnum. regis hoc magni reor, 
odia ipsa premere. multa dominantem vetat 
amor suorum ; plus in iratos licet, 
qui vult amari, languida regnat manu. 

IOCASTA 
Invisa numquam imperia retinentur diu 660 

ETEOCLES 

Praecepta melius imperi reges dabunt ; 
exilia tu dispone. pro regno velim 

IOCASTA 
Patriam penates coniugem flammis dare ? 

ETEOCLES 
Imperia pretio quolibet constant bene. 

***** 



396 



PHOENISSAE 

ETEOCLES 

To reign he hath no will who feareth to be hated ; 
the god who made the world set those two things 
together, hatred and sovereignty. This is the part 
of a great sovereign, I think, to tread e'en hatred 
under foot. A people's love forbids a ruler many 
things ; against their rage he has more rights. Who 
would be loved reigns with a nerveless hand. 

JOCASTA 
But hated sovereignty is never long retained. 

ETEOCLES 

The rules for sovereignty kings will better give ; 
do thou make rules for exiles. For sovereignty I 
would fain 

JOCASTA 

Give country, home, wife to the flames ? 

ETEOCLES 

Sovereignty is well bought at any price. 
***** 



S97 



OCTAVIA 



OCTAVIA 

A FABULA PRAETEXTA 

THE ONLY EXTANT ROMAN HISTORICAL 

DRAMA 

INTRODUCTION 

THE Roman historical drama had a place among 
the earliest products of Roman literature, and seems 
to have enjoyed a degree of popularity through all 
succeding periods. That Roman literary genius did 
not find a much fuller expression through this 
channel was not due to a lack of national pride and 
patriotism, nor yet to a dearth of interesting and 
inspiring subjects in Roman history. The true reason 
is probably to be found in the fact that by the time 
national conditions were ripe for the development of 
any form of literature, the Greeks had already worked, 
and well worked, nearly all available fields, and had 
produced a mass of literature which dazzled the 
Roman mind when at last circumstances brought 
these two nations into closer contact. 

The natural and immediate result was an attempt 
on the part of the Romans to imitate these great 
models. And hence we have in drama, both in 
tragedy and in comedy, a wholesale imitation of the 
Greek dramas, oftentimes nothing more than a trans- 
lation of these, with only here and there an attempt 
to produce something of a strictly native character, 
entirely independent of the Greek influence. 

This imitative impulse was augmented by the fact 

401 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

that the Romans were following the line of least 
resistance, since it is always easier to imitate than 
to create. Furthermore, they had as yet developed 
no national pride of literature to hold them to their 
own lines of national development ; they had no 
forms of their own so well established that the mere 
force of literary momentum would carry them steadily 
on toward a fuller development, in spite of the dis- 
turbing effects of the influx of other and better models. 
They had, indeed, developed a native Saturnian verse 
which, had it been allowed a free field, might have 
reached a high pitch of literary excellence. But it 
speedily gave way at the approach of the more elegant 
imported forms. 

The overwhelming influence of Greek tragedy upon 
the Roman dramatists can be seen at a glance as we 
review the dramatic product of the Roman tragedians. 
We have titles and fragments of nine tragedies by 
Livius Andronicus, seven by Naevius, twenty-two by 
Ennius, thirteen by Pacuvius, forty-six by Accius, and 
many fragments from each of these, unassignable to 
definite plays, which indicate numerous other plays of 
the same character. To these should be added addi- 
tional fragments from nearly a score more of Roman 
writers during the next two hundred yeaj*s after 
Accius. All the above-mentioned plays are on Greek 
subjects ; and most of those whose fragments are suf- 
ficiently extensive to allow us to form an opinion of 
their character are either translations or close imita- 
tions of the Greeks, or are so influenced by these as to 
be decidedly Greek rather than Roman in character. 

And what of the genuine Roman dramatic product ? 
Speaking for the fabula praetexta, or Roman historical 
drama, alone, the entire output, so far as our records 
go, is contained in the following list of authors and 
titles. 

402 



OCTAVIA 

From Naevius (265-204 B.C.) we have the Clastidium, 
written in celebration of the victory of Marcellus (at 
Clastidium in 222 B.C.) over Vidumarus, king of the 
Transpadane Gauls, whom Marcellus slew and stripped 
of his armour, thus gaining the rare spolia opima. The 
play was probably written for the especial occasion 
either of the triumph of Marcellus or of the celebra- 
tion of his funeral. 

We have also from Naevius a play variously entitled 
Lupus or Romulus or Alimonium Remi et Romuli, 
evidently one of those dramatic reproductions of 
scenes in the life of a god, enacted as a part of the 
ceremonies of his worship. This play is comparable 
to dramatic representations among the Greeks in the 
worship of Dionysus. 

The Ambracia and the Sabinae of Ennius (239-169 
B.C.) are ordinarily classed as fabulae praetextae, 
although Lucian Miiller classes the fragments of 
the Ambracia among the Saturae of Ennius ; while 
Vahlen puts the Ambracia under the heading Comoe- 
diarum et ceterormn carminum reliquiae, and classifies 
the fragments of the Sabinae under ex incertis satur- 
arum libris. The Ambracia is evidently called after 
the city of that name in Epirus, celebrated for the 
long and remarkable siege which it sustained against 
the Romans under M. Fulvius Nobilior. That general 
finally captured the city in 189 B.C. If the piece is 
to be considered as a play, it was, like the Clastidium, 
written in honour of the Roman general, and acted on 
the occasion either of his triumph or of his funeral. 

We have four short fragments from the Paulus of 
Pacuvius (220-130 B.C.), written in celebration of the 
exploits of L. Aemilius Paulus who conquered Perseus, 
king of Macedonia, in the battle of Pydna, 168 B.C. 

The fragments of the plays already mentioned 

403 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

are too brief to afford any adequate idea of their 
character or content. But in the Brutus of Accius 
(b. 170. B.C.), which centres around the expulsion 
of the Tarquins and the establishment of the Re- 
public, we have a larger glimpse into the play 
through two most interesting fragments consisting 
of twelve iambic trimeters and ten trochaic tetra- 
meters, respectively. In the first, King Tarquin re- 
lates to his seer an ill-ominous dream which he has 
had ; the second is the seer's interpretation of this 
dream, pointing to Tarquin's dethronement by Brutus. 
Other short fragments give glimpses of the outrage 
of Lucretia by Sextus at Collatia, and the scene in 
the forum where Brutus takes his oath of office as 
first consul. This play, unlike most of its predecessors, 
was not written at the time of the events which it 
portrays, but may still be classed with them, so far as 
its object is concerned, since it is generally thought 
to have been written in honour of D. Junius Brutus, 
who was consul in 138 B.C., and with whom the poet 
enjoyed an intimate friendship. 

Another praetexta of Accius is preserved, the Decius, 
of which eleven short fragments remain. This play 
celebrates the victory of Quintus Fabius Maximus 
and P. Decius Mus over the Samnites and Gauls at 
Sentinum in 295 B.C. The climax of the play would 
be the self-immolation of Decius after the example 
of his father in the Latin war of 340 B.C. 

In addition to these plays of the Roman dramatists 
of the Republic, we have knowledge of a few which 
date from later times. There was a historical drama 
entitled Iter, by L. Cornelius Balbus, who dramatized 
the incidents of a journey which he made to Pompey's 
camp at Dyrrachium at the opening of civil war in 
49 B.C. Balbus was under commission from Caesar 

4-04. 



OCTAVIA 

to treat with the consul, L. Cornelius Lentulus, and 
other optimates who had fled from Rome, concerning 
their return to the city. The journey was a complete 
fiasco, so far as results were concerned ; but the 
vanity of Balbus was so flattered by this (to him) 
important mission that he must needs dramatize his 
experiences and present the play under his own 
direction in his native city of Gades. 

We have mention also of an Aeneas by Pomponius 
Secundus, and of two praetextae by Curiatius Maternus, 
entitled Domitius and Cato. 

These eleven historical plays are, as we have seen, 
for the most part, plays of occasion, and would be at 
best of but temporary interest, born of the special 
circumstances which inspired them. They are in no 
way comparable with such historical dramas on Roman 
subjects as Shakespeare's Julius Caesar or Coriolanus, 
whose interest is for all times. 

We have still a twelfth play of this class, which 
enjoys the unique distinction of being the only 
Roman historical drama which has come down to us 
in its complete form the Octavia. Its authorship is 
unknown, although tradition gives it a place among 
the tragedies of Seneca, the philosopher. The 
general opinion of modern critics, however, is 
against this tradition, chiefly because one passage 
in the play, in the form of a prophecy, too circum- 
stantially describes the death of Nero, which occurred 
three years after the death of Seneca. It is generally 
agreed that the play must have been written soon 
after the death of Nero, and by some one, possibly 
Maternus, who had been an eye-witness of the 
events, and who had been inspired by his sympathies 
for the unfortunate Octavia to write this story of her 



sufferings. 



405 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 



SUMMARY OF THE IMPERIAL FAMILY HISTORY WHICH 
FORMS A BACKGROUND TO THE Octavia AND TO 
WHICH REFERENCES ARE MADE THROUGHOUT THE 
PLAY. 

TIBERIUS CLAUDIUS DRUSUS NERO CAESAR GER- 
MANICUS, more commonly known as Claudius, fourth 
emperor of Rome, had taken for his third wife the 
daughter of M. Valerius Messala, Messalina, who 
bore to him two children, Britannicus and Octavia. 
Always notorious for her profligacy and licentiousness, 
Messalina crowned her career by publicly marrying 
C. Silius at Rome during the temporary sojourn of 
her imperial husband at Ostia. Claudius long wavered 
as to her punishment, but at last, through the influence 
of his favourite, Narcissus, he signed her death 
warrant, and she was executed by a tribune of the 
guards in 48 A.D. 

In the following year, through the intrigue of the 
freedman Pallas, Claudius married his brother's 
daughter, Agrippina, who brought with her into the 
emperor's household Lucius Domitius, her son by 
her first husband, Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus. 

Immediately Agrippina began to plot for the 
succession of her son to the throne of the Caesars. 
In 50 A.D. she prevailed upon Claudius to adopt, to 
the prejudice of Britannicus, her own son, who was 
thereafter known as Nero. She had already caused 
Seneca, who had been exiled at the instance of 
Messalina, to be recalled that he might serve as 

406 



OCTAVIA 

Nero's tutor. In 53 A.D. she further advanced 
her plans by compassing the marriage of her son to 
Octavia, the emperor's daughter. Octavia had already 
been betrothed by Claudius to L. Silanus, who now, 
to escape the vengeance of Agrippina, committed 
suicide. 

Her plans being now fully laid for the final act, 
Agrippina secretly poisoned Claudius on October 12th, 
54 A.D., and on the following day Nero succeeded 
to the throne, being then seventeen years of age. 
In the following year, by the joint plotting of 
mother and son, the young Britannicus, also, was 
poisoned. 

Because of the youth and inexperience of her son, 
Agrippina enjoyed four years of practically imperial 
power ; but at last, in 59 A.D., Nero, tired of his 
mother's ascendancy, caused her to be assassinated, 
after an unsuccessful attempt upon her life by means 
of a treacherous vessel, in which death-trap he had 
sent her to sea. 

Nero had long since become enamoured of Poppaea, 
a beautiful profligate, who had left her husband, 
Rufinus Crispinus, to live with Otho, and who now 
became mistress of the emperor. Aspiring to be his 
wife, she had plotted to bring about the death of 
Agrippina and later the divorce of Octavia. Through 
these machinations of his mistress and Nero's own 
more than ready acquiescence, Octavia was falsely 
accused of adultery and in 62 A.D. she was banished 
to Pandataria, where she was shortly afterwards put 
to death. 

Poppaea herself died in 65 A.D. as the result, it 
was said, of a kick by her brutal husband when she 
was far advanced in pregnancy. In the same year, 
at the command of the emperor, Seneca committed 

407 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

suicide ; and three years thereafter, in 68 A.D., Nero 
himself, deposed by the praetorian guards, who had 
espoused the cause of Galba, and condemned to 
death by the Senate, fled from Rome and, after vain 
efforts to escape, received his death-stroke by his 
own request at the hands of a faithful attendant 
who had fled with him. 



408 



DRAMATIS PERSON AE 

OOTAVIA, step-sister and wife of Nero. 

NURSE of Octavia. 

POPPAEA, mistress and afterward wife of Nero. 

NURSE of Poppaea. 

GHOST OF AGRIPPINA, mother of Nero, slain by him. 

NERO, Emperor of Some. 

SENECA, former tutor of Nero, and later one of his chief 
counsellors. 

PREFECT OF ROMAN SOLDIERS. 

MESSENGER. 

CHORUS or ROMANS, sympathetic with Octavia. 

CHORUS, attached to the interests of the court. 

THE SCENE is laid throughout in different apartments of 
the palace of Nero, and is concerned with the events of the 
year 62 A. D. 



OCTAVIA 

OCTAVIA 

IAM vaga caelo sidera fulgens 
Aurora fugat, surgit Titan 
radiante coma mundoque diem 
reddit clarum. 

age, tot tantis onerata malis, 
repete assuetos iam tibi questus 
atque aequoreas vince Alcyonas, 
vince et volucres Pandionias ; 
gravior namque his fortuna tua est. 
semper, genetrix, deflenda rnihi, 10 

priina meorum causa malorum, 
tristes questus natae exaudi, 
si quis remanet sensus in umbris. 
utinam ante manu grandaeva sua 
mea rupisset stamina Clotho, 
tua quam maerens vulnera vidi 
oraque foedo sparsa cruore ! 
o lux semper funesta mihi, 
tempore ab illo 

lux es tenebris invisa magis ! 20 

tulimus saevae iussa novercae, 
hostilem animum vultusque truces, 
ilia ilia meis tristis Erinys 
thalamis Stygios praetulit ignes 
teque extinxit, miserande pater, 
modo cui totus paruit orbis 
ultra Oceanum 

410 



OCTAVIA 

OCTAVIA 

Now doth flushing dawn drive the wandering stars 
from heaven ; with radiant beams the sun arises and 
gives the world once more the light of day. On 
then, with all thy woes weighed down, resume thy 
now accustomed plaints and out-wail the sea-bred 
Halcyons, 1 out-wail the birds 2 of old Pandion's 
house ; for more grievous is thy lot than theirs. 
O mother, constant source of tears to me, first 
cause of my misfortunes, hearken to thy daughter's 
sad complaints, if any consciousness remains among 
the shades. Oh, that the ancient Clotho with her 
own hand had clipped my threads before sadly I saw 
thy wounds, thy face with foul gore besmeared ! O 
light, ever calamitous to me, from that time, O light, 
thou art more hateful than the dark ! We have 
endured a cruel step-dame's 3 orders, her hostile 
spirit and her aspect fierce. 'Twas she, 'twas she, 
the baleful fury, who bore the Stygian torches to my 
bridal chamber, and quenched thy light, O wretched 
father, whom but yesterday the whole world obeyed, 
even beyond Ocean's bounds, before whom the 

1 See Index s.v. " Ceyx." 

2 See Index s.v. "Philomela." 
* Agrippina. 

411 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

cuique Britanni terga dedere, 

ducibus nostris ante ignoti 

iurisque sui. SO 

coniugis, heu me, pater, insidiis 

oppresse iaces servitque domus 

cum prole tua capta tyranno. 

NVTRIX 

Fulgore primo captus et fragili bono 1 
fallacis aulae quisquis attonitus stupet, 
subito 2 latentis ecce Fortunae impetu 
modo praepotentem cernat eversam domum 
stirpemque Claudi, cuius imperio fuit 
subiectus orbis, paruit liber diu 

Oceanus et recepit invitus rates. 40 

en qui Britannis primus imposuit iugum, 
ignota tantis classibus texit freta 
interque gentes barbaras tutus fuit 
et saeva maria, coniugis scelere occidit ; 
mox ilia nati ; cuius extinctus iacet 
frater venenis. maeret infelix soror 
eademque coniunx nee graves luctus valet 
ira coacta tegere crudelis viri ; 
quern sancta refugit semper, atque odio pari 
ardens maritus impia flagrat face. 50 

animum dolentis nostra solatur fides 
pietasque frustra ; vincit immitis dolor 
consilia nostra nee regi mentis potest 
generosus ardor, sed malis vires capit. 
heu quam nefandum prospicit noster timor 
seel us, quod utinam numen aver tat deum. 

1 So Richter: Leo conjectures facie nova. 

2 So Richter Leo sub uno, with n*, but conjectures subito 
involantis. 

412 



OCTAVIA 

Britons 1 fled, erstwhile to our leaders all unknown 
and unsubdued. Alas, my father, by thy wife's plots 
thou liest crushed, and thy house together with thy 
child 2 bends to a tyrant's 3 will. 

[Exit to her chamber. Enter NURSE.] 

NURSE 

Whoso, o'erpowered by the novel splendour and 
the frail blessings of deceitful royalty, stands awe- 
struck and amazed, lo, 'neath the sudden blow of 
lurking Fate, let him behold, o'erthrown, the house 
and stock of Claudius, but now all powerful, under 
whose rule the whole world was brought, whom the 
Ocean, long to sway unknown, obeyed and, all un- 
willingly, received his ships. Lo, he who first on 
the Britons set a yoke, who covered unknown floods 
with his mighty fleets, who was safe midst tribes 
barbaric, midst raging seas, by his wife's 4 crime is 
fallen ; she soon by her son's hand fell ; and by his 
poison lies my brother 5 slain. The unhappy sister, 6 
yea, the unhappy wife grieves on, nor can she hide 
her bitter sufferings, forced to the angry will of her 
cruel husband. From him ever the pure girl recoils, 
and her husband, though by equal hate inspired, 
with incestuous passion burns. Our fond love strives 
in vain to console her grieving heart ; her cruel 
smart o'ercomes our counsels, nor can the noble pas- 
sion of her soul be governed, but from her woes she 
draws new strength. Alas ! how my fears forbode 
some desperate deed, which may the gods forbid. 

1 Claudius had made an expedition to Britain in 43 A.D. 

2 i.e. herself. 3 Nero. 

4 Agrippina. 6 Britannicus. 

6 i.e. step-sister, Octavia ; she was also Nero's sister by 
adoption. 

413 



414. 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

OCTAVIA 

O mea nullis aequanda malis 
fortuna, licet 

repetam luctus, Electra tuos. 
tibi maerenti caesum licuit 60 

flere parentem, 
seel us ulcisci vindice fratre, 
tua quern pietas hosti rapuit 
texitque fides ; 
me crudeli sorte parentes 
raptos prohibet lugere timor 
fratrisque necem deflere vetat, 
in quo fuerat spes una mihi 
totque malorum breve solamen. 
nunc in luctus servata meos 70 

magni resto nominis umbra. 

NVTRIX 

Vox en iiostras perculit aures 
tristis alumnae ; cesset thalamis 
inferre gradus tarda senectus ? 

OCTAVIA 

Excipe nostras lacrimas, nutrix, 
testis nostri fida doloris. 

NVTRIX 

Quis te tantis solvet curis, 
miseranda, dies ? 

OCTAVIA 

Qtii me Stygias mittet ad umbras. 

NVTRIX 
Omina quaeso sint ista procul. 80 



OCTAVIA 

OCTAVIA [heard speaking from her chamber] 

O fate of mine, to be matched by no misfortunes, 
though I recall thy woes, Electra. Thou couldst 
weep out thy grief for thy father's murder, couldst 
take vengeance on the crime with thy brother as 
avenger, whom thy love snatched from the foe and 
thy faithful care protected ; but me fear forbids to 
mourn my parents reft from me by cruel fate, forbids 
to bewail my brother's taking off", in whom was my 
sole hope, the fleeting solace of my many woes. And 
now, saved but to my suffering, I remain, the shadow 
of a noble name. 

NURSE 

Hark ! the voice of my sad foster-child strikes on 
mine ears. Does thy slow age take thee to her 
chamber with lagging steps ? 

[She advances toward the chamber, but is met by Octavia, 

coming forth.] 

OCTAVIA 

Receive my tears, dear nurse, thou trusty witness 

of my suffering. 

NURSE 

What day will free thee from thy mighty cares, 
poor child ? 

OCTAVIA 

The day that sends me to the Stygian shades. 



NURSE 
Far from us be the omen of that word, I pray. 



415 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

OCTAVIA 

Non vota meos tua nunc casus, 
sed fata regunt. 

NVTRIX 

Dabit afflictae meliora deus 
tempora mitis ; tu modo blando 
vince obsequio placata virum. 

OCTAVIA 

Vincam saevos ante leones 
tigresque truces, fera quam saevi 
corda tyranni. 
odit genitos sanguine claro, 
spernit superos hominesque simul, 90 

nee fortunam capit ipse suam 
quam dedit illi per scelus ingens 
infanda parens. licet ingratum 
dirae pudeat munere matris 
hoc imperium cepisse, licet 
tantum munus morte rependat, 
feret hunc titulum post fata tamen 
feraina longo semper in aevo. 

NVTRIX 

Animi retine verba furentis, 
temere emissam comprime vocem. 

OCTAVIA 

Toleranda quamvis patiar, baud umquam que- 

ant 100 

nisi morte tristi nostra finiri mala, 
genetrice caesa, per scelus rapto patre, 
orbata fratre, miseriis luctu obruta, 
maerore pressa, coniugi invisa ac meae 
4-16 



OCTAVIA 

OCTAVIA 

No longer is it thy prayers that shape my life but 

the fates. 

NURSE 

God in his mercy will bring to thine affliction 
better days. Do thou but be soothed, and win thy 
husband with gentle courtesy. 

OCTAVIA 

Sooner shall I win savage lions and fierce tigers, 
than that savage tyrant's brutal heart. He hates all 
born of noble blood, scorns gods and men alike ; nor 
can he of himself wield his high fortune which by a 
monstrous crime his impious mother bestowed on 
him. Yes ! though the ungrateful wretch count it 
shame to take this empire as his cursed mother's 
gift, though he requite her mighty gift with death, 
still will the woman even after death win the fame 
thereof for ever through unending age. 

NURSE 

Check thou the utterance of thy raging heart ; 
repress the words thou hast poured forth too rashly. 

OCTAVIA 

Though I should endure what must be borne, ne'er 
could my woes be ended, save by gloomy death. 
With my mother slain, my father by crime snatched 
from me, robbed of my brother, by wretchedness and 
grief o'erwhelmed, by sorrow crushed, by my husband 

417 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

subiecta famulae luce non grata fruor, 

trepidante semper corde non mortis metu 

sed sceleris absit crimen a fatis meis, 

mori iuvabit ; poena nam gravior nece est 

videre tumidos et truces miserae mihi 

vultus tyranni iungere atque host! oscula, 110 

timere nutus cuius obsequium meus 

baud ferre posset fata post fratris dolor 

scelere interempti, cuius imperium tenet 

et sorte gaudet auctor infaiidae necis. 

quam saepe tristis umbra germani meis 

offertur oculis, membra cum solvit quies 

et fessa fletu lumina oppressit sopor. 

modo facibus atris armat infirrnas manus 

oculosque et ora fratris infestus petit, 

modo trcpidus idem refugit in thalamos meos ; 120 

persequitur hostis atque inhaerenti mihi 

violentus ensem per latus nostrum rapit. 

tune tremor et ingens cxcutit somnos pavor 

renovatque luctus et metus miserae mihi. 

adice his superbam paelicem, nostrae domus 

spoliis nitentem, cuius in munus suam 

Stygiae parentem natus imposuit rati, 

quam dira post naufragia superato mari 

ferro interemit saevior pelagi fretis. 

quae spes salutis post nefas tantum mihi ? ISO 

inimica victrix imminet thalamis meis 

odioque nostri flagrat et pretium stupri 

iustae maritum coniugis poscit caput. 

emergere umbris et fer auxilium tuae 

natae invocanti, genitor, aut Stygios sinus 

tellure rupta pande, quo praeceps ferar. 

1 i.e. Acte. See line 197, note. 

2 Nero, in divorcing Octavia, alleged adultery as the cause. 

418 



OCTAVIA 

hated, and set beneath my slave, 1 the sweet light 
brings no joy to me ; for my heart is ever trembling, 
not with the fear of death, but of crime 2 be crime 
but lacking to my misfortunes, death will be delight. 
For 'tis a punishment far worse than death to look 
in the tyrant's face, all swollen with rage 'gainst 
wretched me, to kiss my foe, to fear his very nod, 
obedience to whom my smarting grief could not 
endure after my brother's death, most sinfully de- 
stroyed, whose throne he usurps, and rejoices in being 
the worker of a death unspeakable. How oft does 
my brother's sad shade appear before my eyes when 
rest has relaxed my body, and sleep w r eighed down 
my eyes, weary with weeping. Now with smoking 
torches he arms his feeble hands, and with deadly 
purpose aims at his brother's eyes and face ; and now 
in trembling fright takes refuge in my chamber ; his 
enemy pursues and, e'en while the lad clings in my 
embrace, savagely he thrusts his sword through both 
our bodies. Then trembling and mighty terror 
banish my slumbers, and bring back to my wretched 
heart its grief and fear. Add to all this the proud 
concubine, bedecked with our house's spoil, as gift 
for whom the son set his own mother on the Stygian 
bark ; and, when she had o'ercome dread shipwreck 
and the sea, himself more pitiless than ocean's 
waves, slew her with the sword. What hope of 
safety, after crime so great, have I ? My victorious 
foe threatens my chamber, blazes with hate of me, 
and, as the reward of her adultery, demands of my 
husband his lawful consort's head. Arise thou, my 
father, from the shades and bring help to thy 
daughter who calls on thee ; or else, rending the 
earth, lay bare the Stygian abyss, that I may plunge 
thither headlong. 

419 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

NVTRIX 

Frustra parentis in vocas^ manes tui, 
miseranda, frustra, nulla cui prolis suae 
manet inter umbras cura ; qui nato suo 
praeferre potuit sanguine alieno satum 140 

genitamque fratris coniugem pactus sibi 
toris nefandis flebili iunxit face, 
hinc orta series facinorum caedes, doli, 
regni cupido, sanguinis clari sitis ; 
mactata soceri concidit thalamis gener 
victima, tuis ne fieret hymenaeis potens. 
pro facinus ingens ! feminae est munus datus 
Silanus et cruore foedavit suo 
patrios penates, criminis ficti reus. 
intravit hostis, ei mihi, captam domum, 150 

dolis novercae principis factus gener 
idemque natus, iuvenis infandi ingeni, 
scelerum capacis, dira cui genetrix facem 
accendit et te iunxit invitam metu. 
tantoque victrix facta successu ferox 
ausa imminere est orbis imperio sacri. 
quis tot referre facinorum formas potest 
et spes nefandas feminae et blandos dolos 
regnum petentis per gradus scelerum omnium ? 
tune sancta Pietas extulit trepidos gradus l6o 

vacuamque Erinys saeva funesto pede 
intravit aulam, polluit Stygia face 
sacros penates, iura naturae furens 
fasque omne rupit. miscuit coniunx viro 
venena saeva, cecidit atque eadem sui 
mox scelere nati ; tu quoque extinctus iaces, 
deflende nobis semper infelix puer, 
modo sidus orbis, columen augustae domus, 
Britannice, heu me, nunc levis tantum cinis 
420 



OCTAVIA 

NURSE 

In vain dost thou call upon thy father's ghost, 
poor girl, in vain, for no care for his child abides 
amidst the shades with him who to his own son 
could prefer one born of other blood, and, taking his 
brother's child to wife, wed her with couch incestuous 
and gloomy torch. Thence sprung a train of crimes 
murders, deceits, the lust for empire, thirst for 
illustrious blood ; as victha offered to the father's 
marriage bed the son-in-law was slain, lest, wedded 
to thee he might become too strong. Oh, monstrous 
crime ! To a woman was Silanus given as a boon 
and with his blood denied the ancestral gods, charged 
with a crime that was not his. Then entered the 
foe, ah me ! into the conquered palace, by a step- 
mother's wiles made an emperor's son-in-law and 
son withal, a youth of bent unnatural, fertile in crime, 
whose passion thy cruel mother fanned, and forced 
thee by fear to wed him, 'gainst thy will. Triumphant 
and emboldened by such success, she dared aspire to 
the awful empire of the world. Who can rehearse 
the various forms of crime, the wicked hopes, the 
cozening wiles of her who by all crimes would mount 
to empire round by round ? Then holy Piety with 
trembling step withdrew, and raging Fury with bale- 
ful feet entered the empty palace, denied with 
Stygian torch the holy household-gods, and in mad 
rage rent nature's laws and all things sacred. The 
wife for her husband mingled deadly poison, and 
soon by her son's crime the same wife fell. Thou 
too dost lie dead, unhappy youth, ever to be mourned 
by us, but late the world's star, the prop of a noble 
house, Britannicus, and now, ah me ! only light ashes 

42 J 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

et tristis umbra; saeva cui lacrimas dedit 170 

etiam noverca, cum rogis artus tuos 
dedit 1 cremandos membraque et vultus deo 
similes volanti funebris flamma abstulit. 2 

OCTAVIA 
Extinguat et me, ne manu nostra cadat ! 

NVTRIX 
Natura vires non dedit tantas tibi. 

OCTAVIA 
Dolor ira maeror miseriae luctus dabunt. 

NVTRIX 
Vmce obsequendo potius immitem virum. 

OCTAVIA 
Vt fratrem ademptum seel ere restituat mihi ? 

NVTRIX 

Incolumis ut sis ipsa, labentem ut domum 
genitoris olim subole restituas tua. 180 

OCTAVIA 

Expectat aliam principis subolem domus ; 
me dira miseri fata germani trahunt. 

NVTRIX 
Confirmet animum civium tantus favor. 

1 So the MSS.: Leo, with Biiecheler, dedi. 
8 Some editors suggest a lacuna of thirty or more lines fol- 
lowing 173. 

422 



OCTAVIA 

and a mournful shade, o'er whom e'en thy step- 
mother wept, when on the pyre she gave thy body 
to be burned, and when thy limbs and features, that 
were like a winged god's, were by the mournful 
flame consumed. 

OCTAVIA 

Let him 1 destroy me also, lest by my hand he fall. 

NURSE 

Nature has not bestowed on thee such strength. 

OCTAVIA 

Anguish, anger, sorrow, wretchedness, grief will 
bestow it. 

NURSE 

By compliance, rather, win thine unfeeling lord. 

OCTAVIA 

That he may give back to me my brother, wickedly 
destroyed ? 

NURSE 

That thou mayst be thyself unharmed, that one 
day thou mayst restore thy father's tottering house 
with sons of thine. 

OCTAVIA 

The royal house expects another son ; 2 me my 
poor brother's cruel fates drag down. 

NURSE 

Let thy soul be strengthened by the citizens' great 
love. 

1 Nero. 

3 i.e. Nero's by Poppaea. 

423 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

OCTAVIA 

Solatur iste nostra, non relevat mala. 

NVTRIX 
Vis magna populi est. 

OCTAVIA 

Principis maior tamen. 

NVTRIX 
Respiciet ipse coniugem. 

OCTAVIA 

Paelex vetat. 

NVTRIX 
Invisa cunctis nempe. 

OCTAVIA 
Sed cara est viro. 

NVTRIX 
Nondum uxor est. 

OCTAVIA 
lam fiet, et genetrix simul. 

NVTRIX 

luvenilis ardor impetu primo furit, 
languescit idem facile nee durat diu 
in Venere turpi, ceu levis Mammae vapor ; 
amor perennis coniugis castae manet. 
violare prima quae toros ausa est tuos 
animumque domini famula possedit diu, 
iam metuit eadem 

424 



OCTAVIA 

OCTAVIA 

That comforts my woes but does not lighten them. 

NURSE 
The people's power is mighty. 

OCTAVIA 

But the emperor's mightier. 

NURSE 

Of himself will he respect his wife. 

OCTAVIA 

His concubine forbids. 

NURSE 
Surely she is scorned by all. 

OCTAVIA 

But to her husband, dear. 

NURSE 
She is not yet a wife. 

OCTAVIA 
But soon will be, and a mother, too. 

NURSE 

Youthful passion burns fierce at the first rush but 
readily grows dull, nor long endures in foul adultery, 
like heat of flickering flame ; but a chaste wife's love 
remains perpetual. She who first dared profane thy 
bed, and, though a slave, has long held in thrall her 
master's heart, already herself fears 

425 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

OCTAVIA 

Nempe praelatam sibi. 

NVTRIX 

subiecta et humilis, atque moniraenta extruit 

quibus timorem fassa testatur suum. 

et hanc levis fallaxque destituet deus 

volucer Cupido ; sit licet forma eminens, 

opibus superba, gaudium capiet breve. 200 

Passa est similes ipsa dolores 
regina deum, 

cum se formas vertit in omnes 
dominus caeli divumque pater, 
et modo pennas sumpsit oloris 
modo Sidonii cornua tauri, 
aureus idem fluxit in imbri ; 
fulgent caelo sidera Ledae, 
patrio residet Bacchus Olympo, 
deus Alcides possidet Heben 210 

nee lunonis iam timet iras, 
cuius gener est qui fuit hostis. 
vicit sapiens tamen obsequium 
coniugis altae pressusque dolor ; 
sola Tonantem tenet aetherio 
secura toro maxima luno, 
nee mortal i captus forma 
deserit altam luppiter aulam. 
tu quoque, terris altera luno, 
soror Augusti coniunxque, graves 220 

vince dolores. 

1 It is the opinion of Gruterus that the common inter- 
pretation of this whole passage is wrong in its assumption 
that the poet has Poppaea in mind ; he would have it that 
the freed-woman, Acte, is the concubine referred to here. 



OCTAV1A 

OCTAVIA 

Aye ! a more favoured mistress. 

NURSE 

subdued and humble, and gives signs by which 
she confesses her own great fear. 1 Even her shall 
winged Cupid, false and fickle god, betray ; though 
she be passing fair, boastful in power, hers shall be 
but a transitory joy. 

201 The queen of the gods herself like sorrows suf- 
fered, when the lord of heaven and father of the gods 
into all forms changed, and now wings of a swan 2 put 
on, now the horns of a bull 3 of Sidon, and again in a 
golden shower 4 poured down ; the stars of Leda 
glitter in the sky, Bacchus 5 on his father's Olympus 
dwells, Alcides 5 as a god possesses Hebe and now 
no more fears Juno's wrath ; he is her son-in-law 
who was her enemy. Yet wise compliance and 
controlled wrath won victory for the queenly wife ; 
without rival, without care does Juno hold the 
Thunderer on her heavenly couch, and no more 
does Jupiter, by mortal beauty smitten, desert the 
court of heaven. Thou too, on earth a second Juno, 
Augustus' 6 wife and sister, thy grievous woes 
o'ercome. 

3 In which form he came to Leda. 

3 Thus he appeared to Europa. 

4 Thus he appeared to Danae. 

8 Son of Jove and a mortal woman. See Index. 
8 A surname not only of the first, but of all the Roman 
emperors. Here, Nero. 

427 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 



OCTAV1A 



Iimgentur ante saeva sideribus freta 
et ignis undae, Tartaro tristi polus, 
lux alma tenebris, roscidae nocti dies, 
quam cum scelesti coniugis mente impia 
mens nostra, semper fratris extincti memor. 
utinam nefandi principis dirum caput 
obruere flammis caelitum rector paret, 
qui saepe terras fulmine infesto quatit 
mentesque nostras ignibus terret sacris 230 

novisque monstris ; vidimus caelo iubar 
ardens cometam pandere infestam facem, 
qua plaustra tardus noctis aeterna vice 
regit Bootes, frigore Arctoo rigens. 
en ipse diro spiritu saevi ducis 
polluitur aether, gentibus clades novas 
minantur astra, quas regit dux impius. 
non tarn ferum Typhona neglecto love 
irata Tellus edidit quondam parens ; 
hie gravior illo pestis, hie hostis deum 24-0 

hominumque templis expulit superos suis 
civesque patria, spiritum fratri abstulit, 
hausit cruorem matris et lucem videt 
fruiturque vita noxiam atque animam trahit ' 
pro summe genitor, tela cur frustra iacis 
invicta totiens temere regali manu ? 
in tarn nocentem dextra cur cessat tua ? 
utinam suorum facinorum poenas luat 
Nero insitivus, Domitio genitus patre, 
orbis tyrannus, quern premit turpi iugo 250 

morumque vitiis nomen Augustum inquinat ! 

1 A comet actually did appear at this time (Tacitus, An- 
nales, xiv. 22). The appearance of a comet was portentous, 
and was supposed to prelude the death of a king. 

428 



OCTAV1A 

OCTAVIA 

Sooner shall savage seas unite with stars, water with 
fire, heaven with sad Tartarus, the kindly light with 
darkness, day with the dewy night, than with my 
accursed husband's impious soul this soul of mine, 
that ever broods upon my brother's death. And oh, 
that the lord of the heaven-dwellers, who often 
shakes the lands with deadly bolt and terrifies our 
souls with awful fires and portents strange, would 
make ready to whelm with flames this impious prince. 
We have seen a glowing radiance in the sky, a 
comet l spreading its baleful trail, where slow Bootes, 
numb with Arctic chill, with endless, nightlong 
wheeling, guides his wain. Lo, by the pestilential 
breath of this destructive leader the very air is 
tainted ; the stars threaten unheard disasters for the 
nations which this godless leader rules. Not such a 
pest was Typhon, whom wrathful mother Earth pro- 
duced in scorn of Jove ; this scourge, worse than he, 
this enemy of gods and men, has driven the heavenly 
ones from their shrines, and citizens from their 
country, from his brother has he reft the breath of life, 
and drained his mother's blood and he still sees the 
light of day, still lives and draws his baneful breath ! 
O high exalted father, why vainly, why so oft at 
random dost thou hurl thy darts invincible with thine 
imperial hand ? 'Gainst one so criminal why is thy 
right hand stayed ? Would that he might pay 
penalty for his crimes, this spurious 2 Nero, son of 
Domitius, tyrant of a world he burdens with his 
shameful yoke, and with foul ways pollutes the name 
Augustus ! 

2 Referring to the fact that Nero was not the true son and 
rightful heir of Claudius. 

429 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

NVTRIX 

Indignus ille, fateor, est thalamis tuis ; 
sed cede fatis atque fortunae tuae, 
alumna, quaeso neve violent! move 
iram rnariti. forsitan vindex deus 
existet aliquis, laetus et veniet dies. 

OCTAVIA 

Gravi deorum nostra iam pridem domus 
tirgetur ira, prima quam pressit Venus 
furore miserae dura genetricis meae, 
quae nupta demens nupsit incesta face, 260 

oblita nostri, coniugis, legum immemor. 
illi soluta crine, succincta anguibus 

ultrix Erinvs venit ad Stvgios toros 

j " ,, 

raptasque thalamis sanguine extinxit faces ; 
incendit ira principis pectus truci 
caedem in nefandam ; cecidit infelix parens, 
heu, nostra ferro meque perpetuo obruit 
extincta luctu ; coniugem traxit suum 
natumque ad umbras, prodidit lapsam domum. 

NVTRIX 

Renovare luctus parce cum fletu pios, 270 

manes parentis neve sollicita tuae, 
graves furoris quae sui poenas dedit. 

CHORVS 

Quae fama modo venit ad aures ? 
utinam falso credita perdat 
frustra totiens iactata fidem, 

1 i.e. C. Siliua. 
430 



OCTAVIA 



NURSE 



Unworthy he, I do confess it, to mate with thee ; 
but yield thee to the fates and to thy lot, ray child, 
I beg, nor rouse thy violent husband's wrath. Per- 
chance some god will arise as thine avenger, and a 
day of happiness will come again. 

OCTAVIA 

Long since has the heavy wrath of the gods 
pursued our house, which harsh Venus first o'er- 
whelmed in my poor mother's madness ; for she, 
already wed, in mad folly wed another l with un- 
holy torch, of me, of her husband forgetful, and re- 
gardless of the laws. Against her to that hellish 
couch, with streaming hair and girt about with snakes, 
came the avenging Fury and quenched those stolen 
wedding fires in blood ; with rage she inflamed the 
cruel emperor's heart to impious murder ; my ill- 
starred mother fell, alas, and, by the sword destroyed, 
o'erwhelmed me in endless suffering ; her husband 
and her son did she drag down to death 2 and shame- 
fully betrayed our fallen house. 

NURSE 

Forbear with weeping to renew thy filial griefs, and 
vex not thy mother's spirit, who for her madness has 
grievously atoned. [Exeunt. 

CHORUS 

What rumour has but now come to our ears ? 
May it prove false and gain no credence though 
vainly told o'er and o'er ; and may no new wife the 

2 Because, after Messalina's death, Claudius married 
Agrippina who was responsible for the death of Claudius 
and Britannicus. 

431 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

nee nova coniunx nostri thalamos 

principis intret teneatque suos 

nupta penates Claudia proles ; 

edat partu pignora pacis 

qua tranquillus gaudeat orbis 280 

servetque decus Roma aeternum. 

fratris thalamos sortita tenet 

maxima luno ; soror August! 

sociata toris cur a patria 

pellitur aula? san eta quid illi 

prodest pietas divusque pater, 

quid virginitas castusque pudor ? 

nos quoque nostri sumus immemores 

post fata ducis, cuius stirpem 

prodimus aegro l suadente metu. 290 

vera priorum virtus quondam 

Romana fuit verumque genus 

Martis in illis sanguisque viris. 

illi reges hac expulerunt 

urbe superbos ultique tuos 

sunt bene manes, 

virgo, dextra 

caesa parentis, ne servitium 

paterere grave et improba ferret 

praemia victrix dira libido. 300 

te quoque bellum triste secutum est, 2 

mactata tua miseranda manu, 

nata Lucreti, stuprum saevi 

passa tyranni. 

dedit infandi sceleris poenas 

cum Tarquinio Tullia coniunx, 

quae per caesi membra parentis 

egit saevos impia currus 

laceroque seni violenta rogos 

nata negavit. 

432 



OCTAVIA 

emperor's chamber enter, and may his bride, the 
child of Claudius, keep her rightful home, and bring 
forth sons, pledges of peace, wherein the untroubled 
world may rejoice and Rome preserve her everlast- 
ing glory. Her brother's bridal chamber mightiest 
Juno won and holds ; why is Augustus's sister, made 
partner of his couch, driven from her father's house ? 
Of what avail to her is pure devotion, a father deified, 
virginity, unblemished chastity ? We too, after his 
death have quite forgot our leader, and betray his 
child at the bidding of sick fear. Right Roman virtue 
of old our fathers had ; in such men was the true 
race and blood of Mars. They from this city arrogant 
kings expelled, and well did they avenge thy ghost, 
O virgin, 1 slain by thy father's hand lest thou shouldst 
suffer slavery's heavy load, and lest cruel lust, 
victorious, should gain its shameless prize. Thee 
also a sad war followed, daughter of Lucretius, slain, 
poor girl, by thine own hand, by a brutal tyrant 
outraged. With Tarquin Tullia, his wife, paid penalty 
for crime unspeakable, who, over the body of her 
murdered father heartlessly drove her cruel car, and, 
mad daughter, refused the mangled old man a 

funeral-pyre. 

1 Virginia. See Index. 
8 Lucretia. See Index. 

1 So Richter : Leo taevo : A sevo : ^ evo : Peiper eheu. 
s Leo deletes lines 297-301. 

433 



2 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Haec quoque nati videre nefas 310 

saecula magnum, cum Tyrrhenum 
rate ferali princeps captam 
fraude parentem misit in aequor. 
properant placidos linquere portus 
iussi nautae, resonant remis 
pulsata freta. 

fertur in altum provecta ratis, 
quae resoluto robore labens 
pressa dehiscit sorbetque mare, 
tollitur ingens clamor ad astra 320 

cum femineo mixtus planctu. 
mors ante oculos dira vagatur ; 
quaerit leti sibi quisque fugam ; 
alii lacerae puppis tabulis 
haerent nudi fluctusque secant, 
repetunt alii litora nantes ; 
multos mergunt fata profundo. 
scindit vestes Augusta suas 
laceratque comas rigat et maestis 
fletibus ora. 330 

Postquam spes est nulla salutis, 
ardens ira, iam victa malis : 
(f haec " exclamat " mihi pro tanto 
munere reddis praemia, nate ? 
hac sum, fateor, digna carina, 
quae te genui, quae tibi lucem 
atque imperium nomenque dedi 
Caesaris amens. exere vultus 
Acheronte tuos poenisque meis 
pascere, coniunx ; 34C 

ego causa tuae, miserande, necis 
natoque tuo funeris auctor 
en, ut merui, ferar ad manes 
inhumata tuos, obruta saevis 
aequoris undis." 
4-34- 



OCTAVIA 

310 This age as well has seen a son's dire 
when in a deadly bark the prince l sent his mother 
out on the Tyrrhene sea, by a trick ensnared. At his 
bidding the sailors make haste to leave the peaceful 
port and, smit by the oars, the sea resounds. The 
vessel is borne far out upon the deep ; and there, 
with loosened timbers, sinking, overwhelmed, it yawns 
wide and drinks in the sea. A mighty outcry rises 
to the stars, mingled with shrieks of women. Death 
stalks dire before the eyes of all ; each for himself 
seeks refuge from destruction ; some cling naked to 
planks of the broken ship and face the floods, while 
others, swimming, seek to gain the shore ; fate 
plunges many into the depths below. Augusta 2 
rends her garments and tears her hair and waters 
her cheeks with grieving tears. 

831 At last, with hope of safety gone, blazing with 
anger and now o'ercome with woe, she cries ; " Such 
reward as this for my great boon, O son, dost thou 
return me ? Worthy am I of this ship, I do confess, 
who brought thee forth, who gave thee light and 
empire and the name of Caesar, fool that I was. 
Thrust forth thy face from Acheron, and glut thee 
with my punishment, O husband ; I caused thy 
death, poor soul, was the author of thy son's de- 
struction, and lo, as I have merited, to thy ghost 
am I now borne unburied, whelmed in the cruel 
waters of the sea." 

1 Nero. * i.e. Agrippina. 

435 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Feriunt fluctus ora loquentis, 
ruit in pelagus rursumque salo 
pressa resurgit, pellit palmis 
cogente metu freta, set cedit 
fessa labori. raansit tacitis 350 

in pectoribus spreta tristi 
iam morte fides, multi dominae 
ferre auxilium pelago fractis 
viribus audent, bracchia quamvis 
lenta trahentem voce hortantur 
manibusque levant, quid tibi saevi 
fugisse maris profuit undas ? 
ferro es nati moritura tui, 
cuius facinus vix posteritas, 
tarde semper saecula credent. 36<J 

furit ereptam pelagoque dolet 
vivere matrem 

impius, ingens geminatque nefas ; 
ruit in miserae fata parentis 
patiturque moram sceleris nullam. 
missus peragit iussa satelles ; 
reserat dominae pectora ferro. 
caedis moriens ilia ministrum 
rogat infelix, utero dirum 
condat ut ensem : $10 

"hie est, hie est fodiendus " ait 
"ferro, monstrum qui tale tulit." 
post hanc vocem 
mixtam gemitu cum supremo 
animam tandem per fera tristem 
vulnera reddit. 

SENECA 

Quid me, potens Fortuna, fallaci mihi 
blandita vultu, sorte contentum mea 

436 



OCTAVIA 

846 E'en while she speaks the waves wash o'er her 

lips, and down into the deep she plunges ; anon she 

rises from the briny weight and with her hands, fear 

driving her, lashes the sea ; but soon, outwearied, 

gives o'er the struggle. There still lived in secret 

hearts 1 fidelity which scorned the grim fear of 

death. Many to their mistress dare bring aid, 

when her strength is exhausted by the sea, and, as 

she drags her arms, though sluggishly, along, with 

their voices cheer her and lift her with their hands. 

But what availed it to have escaped the waters of 

the cruel sea ? By the sword of thine own son thou 

art to die, to whose crime scarce will posterity, 

slowly will all future ages, give belief. He rages 

and grieves that his mother, snatched from the sea, 

still lives, the impious monster, and heaps huge 

guilt on guilt ; bent on his wretched mother's 

death, he brooks no stay of crime. Sent to the 

task, his creature works his will, and with the sword 

lays open his mistress' breast. The unhappy woman, 

dying, begs her murderer to sheathe his fell sword 

within her womb : " Tis this, 'tis this that must 

with the sword be pierced, which gave such monster 

birth ! " After such utterance, with a dying groan 

commingled, at length through the cruel wound she 

yielded her sad ghost. 

SENECA [a/one] 

Why, potent Fortune, with false, nattering looks ; 
hast high exalted me when contented with my lot, 

1 '. e. of some of her servants. 

437 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

alte extulisti, gravius ut ruerem edita 

receptus arce totque prospicerem metus ? 380 

melius latebam procul ab invidiae mails 

remotus inter Corsici rupes maris, 

ubi liber animus et sui iuris mihi 

semper vacabat studia recolenti mea. 

o quam iuvabat, quo nihil maius parens 

Natura genuit, operis immensi artifex, 

caelum intueri, solis et currus sacros 

mundique motus, 1 solis alternas vices 

orbemque Phoebes, astra quern cingunt vaga, 

lateque fulgens aetheris magni decus ; 390 

qui si senescit, tantus in caecum chaos 

casurus iterum, tune adest mundo dies 2 

supremus ille, qui premat 3 genus impium 

caeli ruina, rursus ut stirpem novam 

generet renascens melior, ut quondam tulit 

iuvenis, tenente regna Saturno poli. 

tune ilia virgo, numinis magni dea, 

lustitia, caelo missa cum sancta Fide 

terris regebat mitis humanum genus. 

non bella norant, non tubae fremitus truces, 400 

non anna gentes, cingere assuerant suas 

muris nee urbes : pervium cunctis iter, 

communis usus omnium rerum fuit ; 

et ipsa Tell us laeta fecundos sinus 

pandebat ultro, tarn piis felix parens 

et tuta alumnis. 

Alia sed suboles, minus 
experta mitis, tertium sellers genus 
novas ad artes extitit, sanctum tarn en ; 
mox inquietum, quod sequi cursu feras 

1 Leo deletes solis . . . motus. 

1 So Pickter with MSS. : Lto casurus iterum est nunc ades 
nmndo, dies. 3 So Richttr with MSS.: Leo premas. 

438 



OCTAV1A 

that, raised to a lofty pinnacle, in heavier ruin I 
might fall, and might look out upon so many fears ? 
Better was I hid, far out of the reach of envy's sting, 
midst the crags of Corsica, facing on the sea, where 
my spirit, free and its own lord, had ever time to 
contemplate my favourite themes. Oh, 'twas joy 
a joy surpassing anything to which mother Nature, 
contriver of this fabric infinite, hath given birth, to 
gaze upon the heavens, the sun's sacred chariot, the 
motions of the universe and the sun's recurring 
rounds, and the orb of Phoebe, which the wandering 
stars encircle, and the far effulgent glory of the mighty 
sky. If this sky is growing old, doomed wholly 
once more to fall into blind nothingness, then for the 
universe is that last day at hand which shall crush 
sinful man beneath heaven's ruin, that so once more 
a reborn and better world may bring forth a new 
race such as she bore in youth, when Saturn 1 held the 
kingdoms of the sky. Then did that virgin, Justice, 2 
goddess of mighty sway, from heaven sent down with 
holy Faith to earth, rule with mild sway the race of 
men. No wars the nations knew, no trumpet's 
threatening blasts, no arms, nor were they used to 
surround their cities with a wall : open to all was 
the way, in common was the use of every thing ; and 
the glad Earth herself willingly laid bare her fruitful 
breast, a mother happy and safe amid such duteous 
nurslings. 

406 But another race arose which proved less 
gentle ; another yet, cunning in unknown arts, but 
holy still ; then came a restless race, which dared 

1 In the Golden Age. i.e. Astraea. 

439 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

auderet acres, fluctibus tectos gravi 410 

extrahere pisces rete vel calamo levi, 

decipere volucres 1 

tenere laqueo, premere subiectos iugo 

tauros feroces, vomere immunem prius 

sulcare terrain, laesa quae fruges suas 

interius alte condidit sacro sinu. 

sed in parentis viscera intravit suae 

deterior aetas ; emit ferrum grave 

aurumque, saevas mox et armavit manus; 

partita fines regna constituit, novas 420 

extruxit urbes, tecta defendit sua, 

aliena telis aut petit praedae imminens. 

neglecta terras fugit et mores feros 

hominum et cruenta caede pollutas manus 

Astraea virgo, siderum magnum decus. 

cupido belli crevit atque auri fames 

totum per orbem, maximum exortum est malum 

luxuria, pestis blanda, cui vires dedit 

roburque longum tempus atque error gravis. 

collecta vitia per tot aetates diu 430 

in nos redundant ; saeculo premimur gravi, 

quo scelera regnant, saevit impietas furens, 

turpi libido Venere dominatur potens, 

luxuria victrix orbis immensas opes 

iam pridem avaris manibus, ut perdat, rapit. 

Sed ecce, gressu fertur attonito Nero 
trucique vultu. quid ferat mente horreo. 



NERO 

Perage imperata ; mitte, qui Plauti mihi 
Sullaeque caesi referat abscisum caput. 

1 Leo conjectures a lacuna, and suggests <turbidos forti 
canes >. 

4-40 



OCTAVIA 

pursue the wild beasts in the chase, draw fish from 
their coverts 'neath the sea with weighted net or 
slender rod, catch birds, on a strong leash hold 
unruly dogs, 1 force headstrong bullocks to endure 
the yoke, furrow the earth which had never felt the 
plough, and which, now thus outraged, had hidden 
her fruits deeper in her sacred bosom. But into its 
mother's bowels did that degenerate age intrude ; it 
dug out heavy iron and gold, and soon did it arm 
savage hands for war. Marking out boundaries, it 
established kingdoms, built cities, hitherto unknown, 
guarded its own dwellings or, bent on booty, with 
weapons attacked another's. Away from earth that 
scorned her, from the wild ways of men and hands 
defiled with bloody slaughter, fled the maid, Astraea, 
chief glory of the firmament. Lust for war increased 
and hunger for gold throughout the world ; luxury 
arose, deadliest of ills, a luring pest, which acquired 
strength and force by long use and grievous error. 
These sins, through many ages gathering, are o'er- 
flowing upon us; a heavy age weighs us down, wherein 
crime is regnant, impiety runs mad, all-potent lust 
lords it with shameless love, and triumphant luxury 
has long with greedy hands been clutching the world's 
unbounded stores that she may squander them. 

[NERO is seen approaching.] 

436 But see, with startled step and savage mien Nero 
approaches. At thought of what he brings I tremble. 
\Enter NERO, followed by a Prefect.'] 

NERO [to Prefect] 

Go do my bidding ; send one to slay me Plautus 
and Sulla and bring back their severed heads. 

1 Translating Leo's conjecture. 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

PRAEFECTVS 

lussa baud morabor : castra confestim petam. 

SENECA 
Nihil in propinquos temere constitui decet. 440 

NERO 
lustum esse facile est cui vacat pectus metu. 

SENECA 
Magnum timoris remedium dementia est. 

NERO 
Extinguere hostem maxima est virtus ducis. 

SENECA 
Servare cives maior est patriae |)atri. 

NERO 
Praecipere mitem converiit pueris senem. 

SENECA 
Regenda rnagis est fervida adolescentia. 

NERO 

Aetate in hac sat esse consilii reor. 

SENECA 
Vt facta superi comprobent semper tua. 

NERO 
Stulte verebor, ipse cum faciam, deos. 



442 



OCTAV1A 

PREFECT 

Thy bidding will I do: to the camp forthwith I'll 
take me. [Exit. 

SENECA 

'Tis not becoming to proceed rashly 'gainst one's 
friends. 

NERO 

'Tis easy to be just when the heart is free from 
fear. 

SENECA 

A sovereign cure for fear is clemency. 

NERO 
To destroy foes is a leader's greatest virtue. 

SENECA 

For the father of his country to save citizens, is 
greater still. 

NERO 

A mild old man should give schooling to boys. 

SENECA 
More needful 'tis that fiery youth be ruled. 

NERO 
I deem that at this age we are wise enough. 

SENECA 
May thy deeds be ever pleasing to the gods. 

NERO 

Foolish I'd be to fear the gods, when I myself 
make them. 1 

1 Referring to his own act in deifying the late Claudius. 

448 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

SENECA 

Hoc plus verere quod licet tantum tibi. 450 

NERO 
Fortuna nostra cuncta permittit mihi. 

SENECA 

Crede obsequenti parcius ; levis est dea. 

NERO 
Inertis est nescire quid liceat sibi. 

SENECA 
Id facere laus est quod decet, non quod licet. 

NERO 
Calcat iacentem vulgus. 

SENECA 

Invisum opprimit. 

NERO 
Ferrum tuetur principem. 

SENECA 

Melius fides. 

NERO 

Decet timeri Caesarem. 

SENECA 
At plus diligi. 1 

NERO 

Metuant necesse est 

1 Leo deletes decet . . . diligi. 
444 



OCTAVIA 

SENECA 

Fear thou the more, that so great power is thine. 

NERO 
My fortune doth allow all things to me. 

SENECA 

Indulgent fortune trust more cautiously ; she is a 
fickle goddess. 

NERO 

"Tis a dullard's part not to know what he may do. 

SENECA 

'Tis praiseworthy to do, not what one may, but 
what one ought. 

NERO 

Him who lies down the crowd trample on. 

SENECA 
Him whom they hate, they crush. 

NERO 
The sword protects the prince. 

8ENECA 

Still better, loyalty. 

NERO 
A Caesar should be feared. 

SENECA 

But more be loved. 

NERO 

But men must fear 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

SENECA 

Quidquid exprimitur grave est. 

NERO 
lussisque nostris pareant. 

SENECA 

lusta impera 

NERO 
Statuam ipse. 

SENECA 

Quae consensus efficiat rata. 460 

NERO 
Respectus l ensis faciet. 

SENECA 

Hoc absit nefas. 

NERO 

An patiar ultra sanguinem nostrum peti, 
inultus et contemptus ut subito opprimar? 
exilia non fregere summotos procul 
Plautum atque Sullam, pertinax quorum furor 
armat ministros sceleris in caedem meam, 
absentium cum maneat etiam ingens favor 
in urbe iiostra, qui fovet spes exulum. 
tollantur hostes ense suspecti mihi, 
invisa coniunx pereat et carum sibi 470 

fratrem sequatur. quidquid excelsum est cadat. 

SENECA 

Fulcrum eminere est inter illustres viros, 
consulere patriae, parcere afflictis, fera 

1 So Buecheler and Richter: Leo, with the MSS. t Despectus 
Wilamowitz despectum ut ensis feriat ? 

446 



OCTAVIA 

SENECA 

What is compelled is burdensome. 



NERO 
Let them obey our orders. 



SENECA 

Give righteous orders 

NERO 
I shall myself decide. 

SENECA 

which the general thought may ratify. 

NERO 
Reverence for the sword wUl ratify them. 

SENECA 

May heaven forbid ! 
NERO 

Shall I then go on suffering them to seek my blood, 
that, unavenged and scorned, I may suddenly be 
crushed ? Exile has not broken Plautus and Sulla, 
though far removed, whose persistent rage arms the 
agents of their guilt to work my death, since still, 
though absent, great is the favour they enjoy in this 
our city, which nurtures the exiles' hopes. Let the 
sword remove foemen whom I suspect ; let my hateful 
wife perish and follow the brother whom she loves. 
Whatever is high exalted, let it fall. 

SENECA 

'Tis glorious to tower aloft amongst great men, to 
have care for father-land, to spare the downtrodden, 



447 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

caede abstinere tempus atque irae dare, 

orbi quietem, saeculo pacem suo. 

haec summa virtus, petitur hac caelum via. 

sic ille patriae primus Augustus parens 

complexus astra est colitur et templis dens. 

ilium tamen Fortuna iactavit diu 

terra marique per graves belli vices, 480 

hostes parentis donee oppressit sui ; 

tibi numen incruenta summisit suum 

et dedit habenas imperi facili manu 

nutuque terras maria subiecit tuo. 

invidia tristis victa consensu pio 

cessit ; senatus, equitis accensus favor ; 

plebisque votis atque iudicio patrum 

tu pacis auctor, generis humani arbiter 

electus orbem iam sacra specie regis 

patriae parens ; quod nomen ut serves petit 490 

suosque cives Roma commendat tibi. 

NERO 

Munus deorum est, ipsa quod servit mihi 
Roma et senatus quodque ab invitis preces 
humilesque voces exprimit nostri metus. 
servare cives principi et patriae graves, 
claro tumentes genere quae dementia est, 
cum liceat una voce suspectos sibi 
mori iubere ? Brutus in caedem ducis, 
a quo salutem tulerat, armavit manus ; 
invictus acie, gentium domitor, lovi 500 

aequatus altos ipse per honorum gradus 
Caesar nefando civium scelere occidit. 
quantum cruoris Roma turn vidit sui, 
lacerata totiens ! ille qui meruit pia 
virtute caelum, divus Augustus, viros 

448 



OCTAVIA 

to abstain from cruel bloodshed, to be slow to wrath, 
give quiet to the world, peace to one's time. This is 
virtue's crown, by this way is heaven sought. So did 
that first Augustus, his country's father, gain the 
stars, and is worshipped in the temples as a god. 
Yet him did Fortune toss for long on land and sea 
in battle's deadly chances, until his father's foes he 
overwhelmed. But to thee hath she yielded her 
divinity, unstained of blood ; hath with easy hand 
given thee the reins of government, and to thy nod 
subjected lands and seas. Sour hate, o'ercome, hath 
yielded in loyal harmony ; the senate's favour and 
the knights' is warm toward thee ; and by the 
people's prayers and the judgment of the Fathers, 
thou art the source of peace, the arbiter of human 
destinies, chosen to rule the world with godlike mien, 
the country's father. This name Rome prays thee 
to preserve, and to thy care commends her citizens. 

NERO 

'Tis the gift of heaven that Rome herself and the 
senate are subject unto me, and that from unwilling 
lips prayers and servile words are extorted by fear 
of me. To preserve citizens, to ruler and father- 
land alike oppressive, puffed up with pride of race- 
what folly is't, when with a word one may give to 
death those he suspects ? Brutus for the murder of 
his chief, to whom he owed his safety, armed his 
hands ; and Caesar, invincible in battle shock, tamer 
of nations, walking, a very Jove, along the upward 
path of honours, died by the unspeakable crime of 
citizens. What streams of her own blood did Rome 
then behold, so often rent with strife ! He who 
earned heaven by piety, the deified Augustus, how 

449 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

quot interemit nobiles, iuvenes senes 

sparsos per orbem, cum suos mortis metu 

fugerent penates et trium ferrum ducum, 

tabula notante deditos tristi neci ! 

exposita rostris capita caesorum patres 5 1 

videre maesti, flere nee licuit suos, 

non gemere dira tabe pollute foro, 

stillante sanie per putres vultus gravi. 

nee finis hie cruoris aut caedis stetit : 

pavere volucres et feras saevas diu 

tristes Philippi, hausit et Siculum mare 

classes virosque l saepe cedentes ; suis 

concussus orbis viribus. magnus ducum 

superatus acie, puppibus Nilum petit 

fugae parutis, ipse periturus brevi ; 520 

hausit cruorem incesta Romani ducis 

Aegjptus iterum ; nunc leves umbras tegit. 

illic sepultum est impie gestum diu 

civile bellum. condidit tandem suos 

iam fessus enses victor hebetatos feris 

vulneribus, et continuit imperium metus. 

armis fideque militis tutus fuit, 

pietate nati factus eximia deus, 

post fata consecratus et templis datus. 

nos quoque manebunt astra, si saevo prior 530 

ense occuparo quidquid infestura est mihi 

dignaque nostram subole fundaro domum. 

1 The text here is hopelessly corrupt and has been variously 
emended. Schroeder's emendation is at least \ntelligible. Leo 
reads 

saepe cedentes suos 
concussus orbis viribus magnus ducum 
superatus, etc. 
450 



OCTAVIA 

many nobles did he put to death, young men and old, 
scattered throughout the world, when they fled their 
own homes through fear of death and the sword of 
the three banded chiefs ] all by the accusing list 2 
delivered to grim destruction ! The grieving fathers 
saw the heads of the slain set out upon the rostra, 
but dared not weep their dead nor groan, while the 
forum reeked with foul corruption, and sluggish gore 
dripped down the rotting faces. Nor was this the 
end of slaughter and of blood : long did grim Philippi 
feed birds and beasts of prey, and the Sicilian sea 
engulfed fleets and men often retreating ; the world 3 
was shaken by its own contending forces. The great 4 
commander, by the leaders' array o'ercome, with his 
ships prepared for flight, hied him to the Nile, him- 
self doomed soon to perish ; incestuous 5 Egypt a 
second 6 time drank a Roman leader's blood, and 
now covers his flitting shade. There civil strife is 
buried, waged impiously and long. At last the 
victor 7 now weary, sheathed his sword, blunted with 
savage blows, and maintained his sway by fear. Safe 
under the protection of his loyal guards he lived, and 
when he died, by the surpassing piety of his son 8 
was made a god, hallowed and enshrined. Me, too, 
shall the stars await, if with relentless sword I first 
destroy whate'er is hostile to me, and on a worthy 
offspring found my house. 

1 The Second Triumvirate, Lepidus, Antonius, and 
Octavius. 2 The proscription lists. 

3 i.e. the world of the Roman Empire. 

4 Evidently referring to Marcus Antonius, as the context 
shows. 

* Because of the marriage of Cleopatra with her brother, 
Ptolemy. 

6 The implied first was On. Pompeius. 7 Octavius. 

* Tiberius, the adopted son of Augustus. 

45 J 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

SENECA 

Implebit aulam stirpe caelesti tuam 
generata divo Claudiae gentis decus, 
sortita fratris more lunonis toros. 

NERO 

Incesta genetrix detrahit generi fidem, 
animusque numquam coniugis iunctus milri. 

SENECA 

Teneris in annis baud satis clarus ferest, 1 
pudore victus cum tegit Mammas, amor. 

NERO 

Hoc equidem et ipse credidi frustra diu, 540 

manifesta quamvis pectore insociabili 
vul tuque signa proderent odium mei ; 
tandem quod ardens statuit ulcisci dolor, 
dignamque thalamis coniugem inveni meis 
genere atque forma, victa cui cedat Venus 
lovisque coniunx et ferox armis dea. 

SENECA 

Probitas fidesque coniugis, mores pudor 
placeant marito ; sola perpetuo manent 
subiecta nulli mentis atque animi bona ; 
Horem decoris singuli carpunt dies. 550 

NERO 

Omnes in unam contulit laudes deus 
talemque nasci fata voluerunt mihi. 

1 clara eat fides A, emended by Leo, and with reason, for 
the fides of line 536 is not in question, but the amor implicit in 
line 537. 

4-52 



OCTAVIA 

SENECA 

With stock celestial will she l fill thy halls, she, 
the daughter of a god, 2 the Claudian race's glory, 
who has, like Juno, gained her brother's bed. 

NERO 

A harlot mother 3 brings her birth in doubt; 
and the soul of my wife was never linked with mine. 

SENECA 

In tender years rarely is love revealed, when, by 
modesty o'ercome, it hides its fires. 

NERO 

This truly I, too, myself have vainly trusted long, 
although clear signs from her unloving heart and 
face betrayed her hate of me ; which to avenge at 
last my hot grief has resolved. And now I have 
found a wife worthy of my bed in birth and beauty, to 
whom Venus, outshone, would yield, and the wife of 
Jove and the goddess 4 bold in battle. 

SENECA 

But honour, wifely faith, virtue and modesty, 
should please a husband ; for 'tis these only, the 
treasures of mind and heart, that, subject to none, 
abide perpetual ; but beauty's flower each passing 
day despoils. 

NERO 

All charms upon one woman has God bestowed, 
and such was she born, so have the fates decreed, 
for me. 

1 Octavia. 

J Claudius, by courtesy and custom called divus after 
death. * Messalina. * Minerva. 

453 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

SENECA 

Recedet a te (temere ne credas) amor. 

NERO 

Quern summovere fulminis dominus nequit, 
caeli tyrannum, saeva qui penetrat freta 
Ditisque regna, detrahit superos polo ? 

SENECA 

Volucrem esse Amorem fingit immitem deum 
mortalis error, armat et telis manus 
arcuque sacras, instruit saeva face 
genitumque credit Venere, Vulcano satum. 560 

vis magna mentis blandus atque animi calor 
Amor est ; iuventa gignijtur, luxu otio 
nutritur inter laeta Fortunae bona ; 
quern si fovere atque alere desistas, cadit 
brevique vires perdit extinctus suas. 

NERO 

Hanc esse vitae max imam causam reor, 
per quam voluptas oritur ; interitu caret, 
cum procreetur semper humanum genus 
Amore grato, qui truces mulcet feras. 
hie mihi iugales praeferat taedas deus 570 

iungatque nostris igne Poppaeam toris. 

SENECA 

Vix sustinere possit hos thalamos dolor 
videre populi, sancta nee pietas sinat. 



NERO 
Prohibebor unus facere quod cunctis licet ? 



454 



OCTAVIA 

SENECA 

Love will depart from thee, be not too credulous. 

NERO 

What ? He whom the lightning's lord cannot put 
off? Heaven's tyrant, who enters the savage seas and 
the realm of Dis, and draws gods from the sky? 

SENECA 

'Tis our human ignorance fashions Love a winged 
god, implacable, and arms with shafts and bow his 
sacred hands, equips him with blazing torch, and 
counts him the son of Venus, Vulcan's seed. This 
" Love " is a mighty force of mind, a fond heat of the 
soul ; 'tis born of youth, 'tis nursed by luxury and 
ease midst the glad gifts of Fortune ; and if thou 
cease to feed and foster it, it falls away and quickly 
is its power dead and lost. 

NERO 

This do I deem the chiefest source of life, whence 
pleasure hath its birth ; 'tis a deathless thing, since 
the human race is evermore renewed by pleasing 
Love, who softens e'en savage beasts. May this god 
bear before me the wedding torch, and with his fire 
join Poppaea to my bed. 

SENECA 

The people's grief could scarce endure to see such 
marriage, nor would holy reverence allow it. 

NERO 
Shall 1 alone be forbidden what all may do ? 

455 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

SENECA 

Maiora populus semper a summo exigit. 

NERO 

Libet experiri, viribus fractus meis 
an cedat animis temere conceptus favor. 

SENECA 
Obsequere potius civibus placidus tuis. 

NERO 
Male imperatur, cum regit vulgus duces. 

SENECA 
Nihil impetrare cum valet, iuste dolet. 580 

NERO 
Exprimere ius est, ferre quod nequeunt preces ? 

SENECA 
Negare durum est. 

NERO 

Principem cogi nefas. 

SENECA 
Remittat ipse. 

NERO 
Fama sed victum feret. 

SENECA 
Levis atque vana. 

NERO 

Sit licet, multos notat. 
456 



OCTAVIA 

SENECA 

Greatest from highest ever the state exacts. 

NERO 

Fain would I make trial whether, broken by my 
might, this rashly cherished regard would not vanish 
from their hearts. 

SENECA 

Bend, rather, peacefully to thy people's will. 

NERO 
111 fares the state when commons govern kings. 

SENECA 

He justly chafes who naught avails by prayer 

NERO 
Is it right to extort what prayer cannot obtain 

SENECA 
To refuse is harsh. 

NERO 

To force a prince is outrage. 

SENECA 
He should himself give way. 

NERO 
But rumour will report him conquered. 

SENECA 
A trivial and empty thing is rumour. 

NERO 

E'en so, it disgraces many. 

457 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

SENECA 



Excelsa metuit. 

NERO 

Non minus carpit tamen. 

SENECA 

Facile opprimetur. merita te divi patris 
aetasque frangat coniugis, probitas pudor. 

NERO 

Desiste tandem, iam gravis nimium mihi, 
instare ; liceat facere quod Seneca improbat. 
iam pridem et ipse vota Poppaeae moror, 1 590 

cum portet utero pignus et partem mei. 
quin destinamus proximum thalamis diem ? 



AGRIPP1NA 

Tellure rupta Tartaro gressum extuli, 
Stygiam cruenta praeferens dextra facem 
thalamis scelestis. iiubat his flammis meo 
Poppaea nato iuncta, quas vindex manus 
dolorque matris vertet ad tristes rogos. 
manet inter umbras impiae caedis mihi 
semper memoria, manibus nostris gravis 
adhuc inultis. reddita est meritis meis 600 

funesta merces puppis et pretium imperi 
nox ilia qua naufragia deflevi mea ; 
comitum necem natique crudelis nefas 
deflere votum fuerat hand tempus datum est 

1 So Bueclider. Leo reads et ipse populi vota iam pridem 
moror. populi is impossible in view of the next line. 

4-58 



OCTAVIA 

SENECA 

It fears the high exalted. 

NEKO 

But none the less maligns. 

SENECA 

Twill easily be crushed. Let the merits of thy 
sainted father l break thy will, 2 and thy wife's youth, 
her faith, her chastity. 

NERO 

Have done at last ; already too wearisome has thy 
insistence grown ; permit me to do what Seneca 
disapproves. Long since am I myself Poppaea's 
prayers delaying, since in her womb she bears a 
pledge and part of me. Why not appoint to-morrow 
for the wedding day ? [Exeunt. 

[Enter Ghost of AGRIPPINA beating a flaming torch.] 

AGRIPPINA 

Through the rent earth from Tartarus have I come 
forth, bringing in bloody hand a Stygian torch to 
these curst marriage rites. With these flames let 
Poppaea wed my son, which a mother's avenging 
hand and grief shall turn to grim funeral pyres. 
Ever amidst the shades the memory of my impious 
murder abides with me, burdening my ghost still 
unavenged. The payment I received for all my 
services was that death-fraught ship, and the reward 
of empire, that night wherein I mourned my wreck. 
My comrades' murder and my son's heartless 
crime I would have wept no time was given for 

1 i.e. his adoptive father, Claudius. 
* In the matter of Poppaea. 

459 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

lacrimis, sed ingens scclere geminavit nefas. 

perempta ferro, foeda vulneribus sacros 

intra penates spiritum efFudi gravem 

erepta pelago, sanguine extinxi meo 

nee odia nati. saevit in nomen ferus 

matris tyrannus, obrui meritum cupit, 610 

simulacra, titulos destruit mortis l metu 

totum per orbem quern dedit poenam in meam 

puero regendum noster infelix amor. 

Extinctus umbras agitat infestus meas 
flammisque vultus noxios coniunx petit, 
instat, minatur, imputat fatum mihi 
tumulumque nati, poscit auctorem necis. 
iam parce ; dabitur, tempus baud longum peto. 
ultrix Erinys impio dignum parat 
letum tyranno, verbera et turpem fugam 620 

poenasque quis et Tantali vincat sitim, 
dirum laborem Sisyphi, Tityi alitem 
Ixionisque membra rapientem rotam. 
licet extruat marmoribus atque auro tegat 
superbus aulam, limen armatae ducis 
servent cohortes, mittat immensas opes 
exhaustus orbis, supplices dextram petant 
Parthi cruentam, regna divitias ferant ; 
veniet dies tempusque quo reddat suis 
animam nocentem sceleribus, iugulum hostibus 630 
desertus ac destructus et cunctis egens. 

o 

Heu, quo labor, quo vota ceciderunt mea ? 
1 So A. Leo, following Buechder, matris. 

Britannicus. * Nero. 

1 It is the following passage which forms the chief argu- 

460 



OCTAVIA 

tears, but with crime he doubled that awful crime. 
Though saved from the sea, yet by the sword un- 
done, loathsome with wounds, midst the holy images 
I gave up my troubled ghost. Still my blood 
quenched not the hatred of my son. Rages the 
mad tyrant against his mother's name, longs to blot 
out her merits ; my statues, my inscriptions he 
destroys by threat of death throughout the world- 
the world which, to my own punishment, my ill- 
starred love gave to a boy's government. 

[She seems to sec her husband's ghost. ,] 
en Wrathfully doth my dead husband harass my 
ghost, and with torches attacks my guilty face ; pur- 
sues me, threatens, charges to me his death and his 
son's 1 burial mound, demands the author 2 of the 
murderous deed. Have done ; he shall be given ; 'tis 
no long time I seek. The avenging Fury plans for 
the impious tyrant a worthy doom 3 ; blows and base 
flight and sufferings whereby he may surpass e'en 
Tantalus' thirst, the dread toil of Sisyphus, the bird 
of Tityus and the wheel which whirls Ixion's limbs 
around. Though in his pride he build him marble 
palaces and roof them in with gold, though armed 
guards stand at their chieftain's door, though the 
beggared world send him its boundless riches, though 
Parthians in suppliance seek his bloody hand, though 
kingdoms bring wealth to him ; the day and the hour 
will come when for his crimes he shall pay his guilty 
soul, shall give his throat to his enemies, abandoned 
and undone and stripped of all. 

632 Alas ! to what end my labour and my prayers ? 

ment of those who deny the Senecan authorship of this play, 
on the ground that it gives in the form of prophecy a cir- 
cumstantial account of the death of Nero, in 68 A.D., whereas 
Seneca died in 65. 

461 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

quo te furor provexit attonitum tuus 

et fata, nate, cedat ut tantis malis 

genetricis ira quae tuo scelere occidit ? 

utinam antequam te parvulum in lucem edidi 

aluique, saevae nostra lacerassent ferae 

viscera ; sine ullo scelere, sine sensu innocens 

meus occidisses ; iunctus atque haerens mihi 

semper quietam cerneres sedem inferum, 640 

proavos patremque, nominis magni viros, 

quos nunc pudor luctusque perpetuus manet 

ex te, nefande, meque quae talem tuli. 

quid tegere cesso Tartaro vultus meos, 

noverca coniunx mater infelix meis ? 



OCTAVIA 

Parcite lacrimis urbis festo 
laetoque die, ne tantus amor 
nostrique favor principis acres 
suscitet iras vobisque ego sim 
causa malorum. non hoc primum 650 

pectora vulnus mea senserunt ; 
graviora tuli ; dabit hie nostris 
finem curis vel morte dies, 
non ego saevi cernere cogar 
coniugis ora, 
non invisos intrare mihi 
thalamos famulae ; 
soror Augusti, non uxor ero. 
absint tantum tristes poenae 
letique metus. 660 

scelerum diri, miseranda, viri 
potes hoc demens sperare memor ? 
hos ad thalamos servata diu 
4-62 



OCTAVIA 

Hath thy frenzy carried thee so far in madness, and 
thy destiny, my son, that the wrath of a mother 
murdered by thy hand gives way before such woes ? 
Would that, ere I brought thee, a tiny babe, to light, 
and suckled thee, savage beasts of prey had rent 
my vitals ; then without crime, without sense and 
innocent, thou wouldst have died my own; close 
clinging to my side, thou wouldst forever see the 
quiet seats of the underworld, thy grandsires and 
thy sire, heroes of glorious name, whom now shame 
and grief perpetual await because of thee, thou 
monster, and of me who bore such son. But why 
delay to hide my face in Tartarus, as step-dame, 
mother, wife, a curse unto my own ? 

[The Ghost vanishes. Enter OCTAVIA.] 

OCTAVIA [to the Chorus] 

Restrain your tears on this glad, festal day of 
Rome, lest your great love and care for me arouse 
the emperor's sharp wrath, and I be cause of 
suffering to you. This wound l is not the first my 
heart has felt ; far heavier have I borne ; but this 
day shall end my cares e'en by my death. No more 
shall I be forced to look on my brutal husband's face, 
nor to enter a slave's chamber which I hate ; 
Augustus' sister shall I be, not wife. Only may I 
be spared dire punishments and fearful death. - 
And canst thou, poor, foolish girl, remembering thy 
cruel husband's crimes, yet hope for this? Long 
kept back for this marriage-festival, thou shalt fall 

1 i.e. her divorce and disgrace. 

463 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

victima tandem funesta cades, 
sed quid patrios saepe penates 
respicis udis confusa genis ? 
propera tectis efferre gradus, 
linque cruentam principis aulam. 

CIIORVS 

En illuxit suspecta diu, 

fama totiens iactata dies. 670 

cessit thalamis Claudia diri 
pulsa Neronis, quo iam victrix 
Poppaea tenet, cessat pietas 
dum nostra gravi compressa metu 
segnisque dolor, 
ubi Romani vis est populi, 
fregit claros quae saepe duces, 
dedit invictae leges patriae, 
fasces dignis civibus olim, 
iussit bellum pacemque, feras 680 

gentes domuit, 
captos reges carcere clausit ? 
gravis en oculis undique nostris 
iam Poppaeae fulget imago, 
iuncta Neroni ! 
affligat humo violenta manus 
similes nimium vultus dominae 
ipsamque toris detrahat altis, 
petat infestis mox et flammis 
telisque feris principis aulam. 

NVTRIX POPPAEAE 

Quo trepida gressum coniugis thalamis tui 690 
effers, alumna, quidve secretum petis 

1 i.e. Octavia. 
464 



OCTAVIA 

at last, an ill-starred victim. But why so often to 
thy father's house dost look back with streaming 
eyes? Haste thee to leave this roof; abandon the 
blood-stained palace of the emperor. [Exit. 

CHORUS 

Lo, now has dawned the day long dim foreseen,, 
so oft by rumour bruited. Departed is Claudia 1 
from cruel Nero's chamber, which e'en now Poppaea 
holds in triumph, while lags our love by grievous 
fear repressed, and grief is numb. Where is the 
Roman people's manhood now, which oft in olden 
times hath crushed illustrious chiefs, given laws to 
an unconquered land, 2 the fasces to worthy citizens, 
made war and peace at will, conquered wild races 
and imprisoned captive kings ? Lo, grievous to our 
sight, on every hand now gleams Poppaea's image, 
with Nero's joined ! Let violent hands throw them 
to the ground, too like their mistress' features ; let 
them drag her down from her lofty couch, and then 
with devouring flames and savage spears attack the 
palace of the emperor. [Exit CHORUS. 

[Enter POPPAEA'S NURSE and POPPAEA herself, who 
appears, distraught, coming out of her chamber.'] 

NURSE 

Whither, dear child, dost pass all trembling from 
the chamber of thy lord, or what hidden place seekst 

2 i.e. withstood all outside enemies and righteously ruled 
within the father-land. 

465 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

turbata vultu ? cur genae fletu madent ? 

certe petitus precibus et votis dies 

aostris refulsit ; Caesari iuncta es tuo 

taeda iugali, quern tuus cepit decor, 

contempta l Senecae tradidit vinctum tibi 

genetrix Amoris, maximum numen, Venus. 

o qualis altos quanta pressisti toros 

residens in aula ! vidit attonitus tuam 

formam senatus, tura cum superis dares 700 

sacrasque grato spargeres aras mero, 

velata summum flammeo tenui caput ; 

et ipse lateri iunctus atque haerens tuo 

sublimis inter civium laeta omina 

incessit habitu atque ore laetitiam gerens 

princeps superbo. talis emersam freto 

spumante Peleus coniugem accepit Thetin, 

quorum toros celebrasse caelestes ferunt, 

pelagique numen omne consensu pari. 

quae subita vultus causa mutavit tuos ? 710 

quid pallor iste, quid ferant lacrimae doce. 

POPPA EA 

Confusa tristi proximae noctis metu 
visuque, nutrix, mente turbata feror, 
defecta sensu. laeta nam postquam dies 
sideribus atris cessit et nocti polus, 
inter Neronis iuncta complexus mei 
somno resolvor ; nee diu placida frul 
quiete licuit. visa nam thalamos meos 
celebrare turba est maesta ; resolutis comis 
matres Latinae flebiles planctus dabant ; 720 

inter tubarum saepe terribilem sonum 
sparsam cruore coniugis genetrix mei 
vultu minaci saeva quatiebat facem. 

1 et culpa Senecae A, variously emended by Leo as above. 

466 



OCTAVIA 

thou with troubled face ? Why are thy cheeks wet 
with weeping ? Surely the day sought by our prayers 
and vows has dawned ; to thy Caesar art thou joined 
by the marriage torch, him whom thy beauty snared, 
whom Venus hath delivered in bonds to thee, Venus, 
of Seneca flouted, mother of Love, most mighty 
deity. Oh, how beautiful and stately wast thou on 
the high couch reclining in the hall ! The senate 
looked on thy beauty in amaze, when incense to the 
gods thou offeredst and with pleasing wine didst 
sprinkle the sacred shrines, thy head covered with 
filmy marriage-veil, flame-coloured. And close beside 
thee, majestic midst the favouring plaudits of the 
citizens, walked the prince himself, showing, in look 
and bearing, his joy and pride. So did Peleus take 
Thetis for his bride, risen up from Ocean's foam, 
to whose marriage, they say, the heaven-dwellers 
thronged, and with equal joy each sea divinity. 
What cause so suddenly has changed thy face ? 
Tell me what mean thy pallor and thy tears. 

POPPAEA 

My sad heart, dear nurse, is confused and troubled 
by a fearful vision of yester-night, and my senses 
reel. For, after joyful day had to the dark stars 
yielded, and the sky to night, held close in my Nero's 
arms I lay relaxed in slumber. But not long was it 
granted to enjoy sweet rest ; for my marriage chamber 
seemed thronged with many mourners ; with stream- 
ing hair did Roman matrons come, making tearful 
lamentations ; midst oft repeated and fearful trumpet 
blasts, my husband's mother, 1 with threatening mien 
and savage, brandished a blood-spattered torch. 

1 Agrippina. 

467 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

quarn dum sequor coacta praesenti metu, 

diducta subito patuit ingenti mihi 

tellus hiatu ; lata quo praeceps toros 

cerno iugales pariter et miror meos, 

in quis residi fessa. venientem intuor 

comitante turba coniugem quondam meum 

natumque ; properat petere complexus meos 730 

Crispinus,.intermissa libare oscula ; 

irrupit intra tecta cum trepidus mea 

ensemque iugulo condidit saevum Nero. 

tandem quietem magnus excussit timor ; 

quatit ossa et artus horridus nostros tremor 

pulsatque pectus ; coiitinet vocem timor, 

quam mine fides pietasque produxit tua. 

heu quid minantur inferum manes mihi 

aut quern cruorem coniugis vidi mei ? 

NVTRIX 

Quaecumque mentis agitat intentus l vigor 740 
ea per quietem sacer et arcanus refert 
veloxque sensus. coniugem thalamos toros 
vidisse te miraris amplexu novi 
haerens mariti ? sed movent laeto die 
pulsata palmis pectora et fusae comae ? 
Octaviae discidia planxerunt sacros 
inter penates fratris et patrium larem. 
fax ilia, quam secuta es, Augustae manu 
praelata clarum nomen invidia tibi 
partum ominatur. inferum sedes toros 750 

stabiles futures spondet aeternae domus. 
iugulo quod ensem condidit princeps tuus, 
bella haud movebit, pace sed ferrum teget. 

1 So Gronovius : Leo, with A, infestus. 

1 Crispinus. 
4-68 



OCTAV1A 

While I was following her, driven by urgent fear, 
suddenly the earth yawned beneath me in a mighty 
chasm. Downward through this I plunged and there, 
as on earth, beheld my wedding-couch, wondering 
to behold it, whereon I sank in utter weariness. I 
saw approaching, with a throng around him, my 
former husband 1 and my son. 2 Crispinus 3 hastened 
to take me in his ai ms, to kiss me as long ago ; when 
hurriedly into my chamber Nero burst and buried 
his savage sword in the other's throat-. At length a 
mighty fear roused me from slumber ; my bones and 
limbs shook with a violent trembling ; my heart beat 
wildly ; fear checked my utterance, which now thy 
love and loyalty have restored to me. Alas ! What 
do the spirits of the dead threaten me, or what means 
the blood of my husband that I saw ? 

NURSE 

Whate'er the mind's waking vigour eagerly pur- 
sues, a mysterious, secret sense, swift working, brings 
back in sleep. Dost marvel that thou didst behold 
husband and marriage-bed, held fast in thy new 
lord's arms? But do hands beating breasts and 
streaming hair on a day of joy trouble thee ? 'Twas 
Octavia's divorce they mourned midst her brother's 
sacred gods and her father's house. That torch 
which thou didst follow, borne in Augusta's 4 hand, 
foretells the name that thou shall gain illumed by 
envy. Thy abode in the lower world 5 promises the 
stablished marriage-bed of a home unending. Where- 
as thine emperor buried his sword in that other's 
throat, wars shall he not wage, but in peace shall 

8 Rufrius Crispinus. For his fate, see Index. 
* i.e. her husband. 4 i.e. Agrippina's. 

s Since in that world all things are changeless. 

469 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

recollige animum, recipe laetitiam, precor, 
timore pulso redde te thalamis tuis. 

POPPAEA 

Delubra et aras petere constitui sacras, 
caesis litare victimis numen deum, 
ut expientur noctis et somni minae 
terrorque in hostes redeat attonitus meos. 
tu vota pro me suscipe et precibus piis 760 

superos adora, maneat ut praesens status. 

CHORVS 

Si vera loquax fama Tonantis 
furta et gratos narrat amores 
(quern modo Ledae pressisse sinum 
tectum plumis pennisque ferunt, 
modo per fluctus raptam Europen 
taurum tergo portasse trucem), 
quae regit et nunc deseret astra, 
petet amplexus, Poppaea, tuos, 
quos et Ledae praeferre potest 770 

et tibi, quondam cui miranti 
fulvo, Danae, fluxit in auro. 
formam Sparte iactet alumnae 
licet et Phrygius praemia pastor 
vincet vultus haec Tyndaridos 

> 

qui moverunt horrida bella 
Phrygiaeque solo regna dedere. 
Sed quis gressu ruit attonito 
aut quid portat pectore anhelo ? 

NVNTIVS 

Quicumque tectis excubat miles ducis, 780 

defendat aulam cui furor populi imminet. 

4-70 



OCTAVIA 

sheathe his sword. Take heart again, recall thy 
joy, I pray ; banish thy fear and return thee to thy 
chamber. 

POPPAEA 

Rather am I resolved to seek the shrines and 
sacred altars, and with slain victims sacrifice to the 
holy gods, that the threats of night and sleep may be 
averted, and that my crazed terror may turn against 
my foes. Do thou make vows for me and with pious 
prayers implore the gods of heaven that my present 
lot may be abiding. [Exeunt. 

CHORUS [of Roman women in sympathy with POPPAEA] 

If truly speaks babbling rumour of the Thunderer's 
sweet stolen loves, (who now, they say, in feathery 
plumage hid, held Leda in his embrace, now over 
the waves, in fierce bull-form, the stolen Europa 
bore,) e'en now will he desert the stars o'er which 
he rules and seek thy arms, Poppaea, which even to 
Leda's he might prefer, and to thine, O Danae, 
before whose wondering eyes in olden time he 
poured down in yellow gold. Let Sparta vaunt the 
beauty of her daughter, 1 and let the Phrygian 
shepherd 2 vaunt his prize ; she 3 will outshine the 
face of Tyndaris, 4 which set dread war on foot and 
levelled Phrygia's kingdom with the ground. 

778 But who comes running with excited steps ? 
What tidings bears he in his heaving breast ? 

[Enter MESSENGER.] 

MESSENGER 

Whatever guard holds watch o'er our leader's 
house, let it defend the palace which the people's 

1 Helen. * Paris. Poppaea. 4 Helen. 

471 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

trepidi cohortes ecce praefecti trahunt 
praesidia ad urbis, victa nee cedit metu 
concepta rabies temere, sed vires capit. 



CHORUS 
Quis iste mentes agitat attonitus furor ? 

NVNTIVS 

Octaviae favore percussa agmina 
et efferata per nefas ingens ruunt. 

CHORVS 
Quid ausa facere quove consilio doce. 

NVNTIVS 

Reddere penates Claudiae divi parant 
torosque tratris, debitara partem imperi. 79 (! 

CHORVS 
Quos iam tenet Poppaea concordi fide ? 

NVNTIVS 

Hie urit animos pertinax nimium favor 
et in farorem temere praecipites agit. 
quaecumque claro marmore effigies stetit 
aut acre fulgens, ora Poppaeae gerens, 
afflicta vulgi manibus et saevo iacet 
eversa ferro ; membra per partes trahunt 
deducta laqueis, obruunt turpi diu 
calcata caeno. verba conveniunt feris 
immixta factis quae timor reticet meus. 800 

sepire flammis principis sedem parant, 

472 



OCTAV1A 

fury threatens. See, in trembling haste the captains 
are bringing cohorts to defend the town ; nor does 
the mob's madness, rashly roused, give place, o'er- 
come with fear, but gathers strength. 

CHORUS 
What is that wild frenzy which stirs their hearts ? 

MESSENGER 

Smitten with love for Octavia and beside them- 
selves with rage, the throngs rush on, in mood for 
any crime. 

CHORUS 

What do they dare to do, or what is their plan, 
tell thou. 

MESSENGER 

They plan to give back to Claudia 1 her dead father's 
house, her brother's bed and her due share of empire. 

CHORUS 

Which even now Poppaea shares with her lord in 
mutual loyalty ? 

MESSENGER 

'Tis this too stubborn love 2 that inflames their 
minds and into rash madness drives them headlong. 
Whatever statue was set up of noble marble or of 
gleaming bronze, which bore the features of Poppaea, 
lies low, cast down by base-born hands and by 
relentless bars o'erturned ; the limbs, pulled down by 
ropes, they drag piecemeal, trample them o'er and 
o'er and cover them with foul mud. Commingled 
curses match their savage acts, which I am afraid to 
tell of. They make ready to hem the emperor's 

1 Octavia. a i.e. for Octavia. 

473 



TUB TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

populi nisi irae coniugem reddat novara, 
reddat penates Claudiae victus suos. 
ut noscat ipse civium motus, mea 
voce baud morabor iussa praefecti exequi. 

CHOUVS 

Quid ft-ra frustra bella movetis ? 
invicta gerit tela Cupido ; 
flammis vestros obruet ignes 
quibus extinxit fulmina saepe 
captumque lovem caelo traxit. 810 

laeso tristes dabitis poenas 
sanguine vestro. non est paticns 
fervidus irae facilisque regi ; 
ille ferocem iussit Achillem 
pulsare lyram, fregit Danaos, 
fregit Atridem, regna evertit 
Priami, claras diruit urbes ; 
et nunc animus quid ferat h or ret 
vis immitis violenta dei. 

NERO 

lenta nimium militis nostri manus 820 
et ira patiens post nefas tantum mea, 

quod non cruor civiiis accensas faces 

extinguit in nos, caede nee populi madet 

funerea Roma quae viros tales tulit. 824 l 

at ilia, cui me civium subicit furor, 827 

suspecta coniunx et soror semper niilii, 

tandem dolori spiritum reddat meo 

iramque nostram sanguine extinguat suo. 830 

admissa sed iam morte puniri parum est. 

graviora meruit impium plebis scelus ; 

1 The inverted order of the following lines is that oj Richter. 
474 



OCTAVIA 

house with Haines should he not yield to the people's 
wrath his new-made bride, not yield to Claudia the 
home that is her own. That he himself may know 
of the citizens' uprising, with my own lips will I 
hasten to perform the prefect's bidding. [Exit. 

CHORUS 

Why do you stir up dire strife in vain ? Invincible 
the shafts that Cupid bears ; with his own flames 
will he o'erwhelm your fires, with which he oft has 
quenched thunderbolts and dragged Jove as his 
captive from the sky. To the offended god 1 dire 
penalties shall you pay e'en with your blood. Not 
slow to wrath is the glowing boy, nor easy to be 
ruled ; 'twas he who bade the fierce Achilles smite 
the lyre, broke down the Greeks, broke down Atrides, 
the kingdoms of Priam overthrew, and famed cities 
utterly destroyed ; and now my mind shudders at 
the thought of what the unchecked power of the 
relentless god will do. 

[Enler NERO.] 

NERO 

Oh, too slow are my soldiers' hands, and too 
patient my wrath after such sacrilege as this, seeing 
that the blood of citizens has not quenched the fires 
they kindled 'gainst me, and that with the slaughter 
of her people mourning Rome reeks not, who bore 
such men as these. But she for whose sake the 
citizens rage at me, my sister-wife whom with dis- 
trust I ever look upon, shall give her life at last to 
sate my grief, and quench my anger with her blood. 
But now death is too light a punishment for her 
deeds. Heavier doom has the people's unhallowed 

1 Cupid. 

475 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

mox tecta flammis conckiant urbis meis, 83 J 

ignes ruinae noxium populum premant 

turpisque egestas, saeva cum luctu fames. 

exsultat ingens saeculi nostri bonis 

corrupta turba nee capit clementiam 

ingrata nostram ferre ncc pacem potest, 

sed inquieta rapitur hinc audacia, 

hinc temeritate fertur in praeceps sua. 

mails domanda est et gravi semper iugo 

premenda, ne quid simile temptare audeat 840 

contraque sanctos coniugis vultus meae 

attollere oculos ; fracta per poenas metu 

par ere discet principis nutu sui. 

Sed adesse cerno rara quern pietas virum 
fidesque castris nota praeposuit meis. 

PRAEFECTVS 

Populi furorem caede paucorum, diu 
qui restiterunt temere, compressum affcro. 

NERO 

Et hoc sat est ? sic miles audisti ducem ? 
compescis ? haec vindicta debetur mihi ? 

PRAEFECTVS 

Cecidere motus impii ferro duces. 850 

NERO 

Quid ilia turba, petere quae flammis meos 
ausa est penates, principi legcm dare, 
476 



OCTAV1A 

guilt deserved. Quickly let Rome's roofs fall be- 
neath my flames ; let fires, let ruins crush the guilty 
populace, and wretched want, and grief and hunger 
dire. The huge mob grows riotous, distempered by 
the blessings of my age, nor hath it understanding 
of my mercy in its thanklessness nor can it suffer 
peace ; but here 'tis swept along by restless insolence 
and there by its own recklessness is headlong borne. 
By suffering must it be held in check, be ever 
pressed beneath the heavy yoke, that it may never 
dare the like again, and against my wife's sacred 
countenance lift its eyes ; crushed by the fear of 
punishment, it shall be taught to obey its emperor's 
nod. 

84>1 But here I see the man whose rare loyalty and 
proven faith have made him captain of my royal 
guards. 

[Enter PREFECT.] 

PREFECT 

The people's rage by slaughter of some few, who 
recklessly long resisted, is put down : such is my 
report. 

NERO 

And is this enough ? Is't thus a soldier has obeyed 
his chief? "Put down," sayst thou ? Is this the 
vengeance due to me ? 

PREFECT 

The guilty ring-leaders of the mob have fallen by 
the sword. 

NERO 

But the mob itself, that dared to attack my house- 
hold with their torches, dictate to the emperor, from 

477 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

abstrahere nostris coniugem tan tarn toris, 
violare quantum licuit incesta manu 
et voce dira ? debita poena vacat ? 

PRAEFECTVS 

Poenam dolor constituet in cives tuos ? 

NERO 
Constituet, aetas nulla quam f'amae exiinat. 

PRAEFECTVS 

Quam l temperet non ira, non rioster timor ? 

NERO 
Iram expiabit prima quae meruit meam. 

PRAEFECTVS 

Quam poscat ede, nostra ne parcat manus. 

NERO 
Caedem sororis poscit et dirum caput. 

PRAEFECTVS 

Horrore vinctum trepidus astrinxit rigor 

NERO 
Parere dubitas? 

PRAEFECTVS 

Cur meam damnas fidem ? 

NERO 
Quod parcis hosti. 

1 Reading with Schroeder. Leo tua . . . DOS. 
478 



OCTAVIA 

my very bed to drag my noble wife, to ofler her 
violence, so far as lay in their power, with hands 
unclean and voices insolent ? Are they still without 
due punishment ? 

PREFECT 

Shall angry grief determine penalty against thy 
citizens ? 

NERO 

It shall determine, the talc of which no age shall 
banish from men's lips. 

PREFECT 

Which neither wrath nor fear of us can hold in 
check ? 

NERO 

She first shall appease who has first deserved mv 
wrath. 

PREFECT 

Whom it demands tell thou, that mv hand may 

J * 

spare not. 

NERO 

The slaughter of my sister it demands, and her 
hateful head. 

PREFECT 
Fearful, benumbing horror holds me fast. 

NERO 

Does thy obedience falter? 

PREFECT 

Why dost condemn my faith ? 

NERO 
Because thou spar'st my foe. 

479 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

PKAEFCCTVS 

Femina hoc nomen capit ? 

NERO 

Si scelera cepit. 

PRAEFECTVS 

Estne qui sontem arguat ? 

NERO 
Populi furor. 

PRAEFECTVS 

Quis regere denientes valet? 

NERO 

Qui concitare potuit. 

PRAEFECTVS 

Haud quemquam reor. 

NERO 

Mulier, dedit natura cui pronum malo 
animum, ad nocendurn pectus instruxit dolis. 



Sed vim negavit. 



PRAEFECTVS 



NERO 



Vt ne inexpugnabilis 870 

esset, sed aegras frangeret vires timor 
vel poena ; quae iam sera damnatam premet 
diu nocentem. 

Tolle consilium ac preces 
et imperata perage : devectam rate 

480 



OCTAVIA 

PREFECT 

Call'st thou a woman foe ? 

NERO 

If crime she has committed. 

PREFECT 

Who charges her with guilt ? 

NERO 
The people's rage. 

PREFECT 

But who can check their madness ? 

NERO 
She who could rouse it. 

PREFECT 

Not any one, I think. 

NERO 

Woman, to whom nature has given a mind to mis- 
chief prone, and equipped her heart with wiles to 
work us ill. 

PREFECT 

But strength it has denied her. 

NERO 

That so she might not be impregnable, but that 
fear or punishment might break her feeble strength, 
a punishment which now, though late, shall crush 
the criminal, who has too long been guilty. 

873 But have done with advice and prayers, and do 
my bidding : let her be borne by ship to some far 

481 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

procul in remotum litus interimi iube, 
tandem ut residat pectoris nostri timor. 

CHORVS 

O funestus multis populi 
dirusque favor, qui cum flatu 
vela secundo ratis implevit 
vexitque procul, languid us idem 88 

deserit alto saevoque mari. 
flevit Gracchos miseranda parens, 
perdidit ingens quos plebis amor 
nimiusque favor genere illustres, 
pietate fide lingua claros, 
pec tore fortes, legibus acres. 
te quoque, Livi, simili leto 
Fortuna dedit, quern neque fasces 
texere suae nee tecta domus. 
pi ura referre prohibet praesens 890 

exempla dolor, modo cui patriam 
reddere cives aulam et fratris 
voluere toros, nunc ad poenam 
letumque trahi flentem miseram 
cernere possunt. bene paupertas 
humili tecto contenta latet ; 
quatiunt altas saepe procellae 
aut evertit Fortuna domos. 

OCTAVIA 

Quo me trahitis quodve tyrannus 
aut ex ilium regina iubet, 900 

si inihi vitam fracta remittit 
tot iam nostris et victa malis ? 
sin caede mea cumulare })arat 
luctus nostros, invidet etiam 

482 



OCTAVIA 

distant shore and there be slain, that at last the 
terror at my heart may be at rest. [Exeunt. 

CHORUS 

Oh, dire and deadly to many has the people's 
favour proved, that has filled their vessels' sails with 
prosperous breeze and borne them out afar, then, 
languishing, has failed them on the deep and 
dangerous sea. The wretched mother 1 of the 
Gracchi wept her sons, whom, though nobly born, 
for loyal faith and eloquence renowned, though brave 
in heart, keen in defence of law, the great love and 
excessive favour of the citizens destroyed. Thee 
also, Livius, 2 to fate like theirs did fortune give, 
whom neither his lictors' rods nor his own house 
protected. But present grief forbids us to rehearse 
more instances. Her, to whom but now the citizens 
decreed the restoration of her father's house, her 
brother's bed, now may they see dragged out in tears 
and misery to punishment and death. Oh, blessed 
poverty, content to hide beneath a lowly roof, while 
lofty homes the storm-blasts oft-times shatter, or 
fortune overthrows. 

[E?iter OCTAVIA in the custody of the palace guards, who 
are dragging her roughly away.] 

OCTAVIA 

Oh, whither do ye drag me ? What exile does the 
tyrant or his queen ordain, if, softened and o'ercome by 
all my miseries, she grants me life ? But if by death 
she is ready to crown my sufferings, why, cruel, does 

1 Cornelia. a Livius Drusus. See Index. 

483 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

cur in patria milii saeva inori ? 

sed iam spes est nulla salutis 

fratris cerno miseranda ratem. 

hac en cuius vecta carina 

quondam genetrix,, mine et thalamis 

expulsa soror miseranda vehar. 910 

nullum Pietas nunc numen habet 

nee sunt superi ; regnat mundo 

tristis Erinys. 

quis mea digne deflere potest 

mala ? quae lacrimis nostris questus 

reddat aedon ? cuius pennas 

utinam miserae mihi fata darent ! 

fugerem luctus sublata meos 

penna volucri procul et coetus 

hominum tristes caedemque feram 920 

sola in vacuo nemore et tenui 

ramo pendens querulo possem 

gutture maestum fundere murmur. 

CHORVS 

Regitur fatis mortale genus, 
nee sibi quisquam spondere potest 
firmum et stabilem vitae cursum 1 
per quern casus volvit varios 
semper nobis metuenda dies, 
animum firment exempla tuum_, 
iam multa domus quae vestra tulit. 930 

quid saevior est Fortuna tibi ? 

Tu mihi primum 
tot natorum memoranda parens, 
nata Agrippae, nurus Augusti, 

* Reading with JRichter's proposed emendation. Leo with 
the MSS. reads firmum et stabile * * per quae. The 
lacuna has been variously filled and the passage variously 
emended. 

484 



OCTAVIA 

she e'en grudge me death at home ? But now is no 
hope of safety ah, woe is me, I see my brother's 
ship. And lo, on that vessel on which his mother 
once was borne, now, driven from his chamber, his 
wretched sister, too, shall sail away. Now Piety no 
longer has divinity, nor are there any gods ; grim 
Fury reigns throughout the universe. Who -worthily 
can lament my evil plight ? What nightingale can 
match my tears with her complaints ? Whose wings 
would that the fates might grant to wretched me ! 
Then on swift pinions borne, would I leave my 
grievous troubles far behind, the dismal haunts of 
men, and cruel slaughter. There, all alone, within 
some solitary wood, perched on a slender bough, 
might I pour forth from plaintive throat my song 
of woe. 

CHORUS 

Our mortal race is ruled by fate, nor may any 
promise to himself that the path of life will be sure 
and steadfast, along which each coming day with its 
continual fears brings ever-shifting chances. Comfort 
now thy heart with the many sufferings which thine 
own house has borne. In what has fortune been 
more harsh to thee ? 

932 And thee first must I name, the mother of so 
many sons, Agrippa's child, 1 Augustus' 2 daughter- 

1 Agrippina, (1) daughter of M. Vipsanius Agrippa and of 
Julia, d. of Augustus ; married Germanicus, sou of Tiberius 
Augustus, and bore to him nine sons. 

1 i.e. Tiberius. 

485 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Caesaris uxor, cuius nonien 

clarum toto fulsit in orbe, 

ntero totiens cnixa gravi 

pignora pacis, mox exilium 

verbera, saevas passa catenas, 

funera, luctus, tandem letum 

cruciata dm. felix thalamis 

Livia Drusi natisque ferum 

ruit in facinus poenamque suam. 

lulia matris fate secuta est ; 

post longa temen tempora ferro 

caesa est, quamvis crimine nullo. 

quid non potuit quondam genetrix 

tua quae rexit principis aulam 

cara marito partuque potens ? 

eadem famulo subiecta suo 950 

cecidit diri militis ense. 

quid cui licuit regnum in caelum 

sperare, parens tanta Neronis ? 

non funesta violate manu 

remigis ante, 

niox et ferro lacerate diu 

saevi iacuit victima nati ? 

OCTAVIA 

Me quoque tristes mittit ad umbras 
ferus et manes ecce tyrannus. 
quid iam frustra miseranda moror ? 9^0 

rapite ad letum quis ius in nos 
Fortuna dedit. testor superos 
quid agis, demens ? parce precari 

1 i.e. Germanicus. 

a She was banished by Tiberius, who was jealous of the 
people's favour toward her, to the island of Pandataria, 
where she died three years afterward. 

486 



OCTAVIA 

in-law, a Caesar's 1 wife, whose name shone bright 
throughout the world, whose teeming womb brought 
forth so many hostages of peace ; yet thou wast 
doomed to suffer exile, blows and galling chains, loss 
of thy friends, and bitter grief, and at last a death of 
lingering agony. 2 And Livia, 3 blest in her Drusus' 
chamber, in her sons, fell into brutal crime and 
punishment. Julia met her mother's fate; though 
after long delay, yet she was slain by the sword, 
though no man called her guilty. What power once 
was thy mother's, 4 who ruled the palace of the em- 
peror, 5 dear to her husband, and in her son 6 secure ? 
Yet she was made subject to her slave, 7 and fell 
beneath a brutal soldier's sword. And what of her 
who might have hoped for the very throne of heaven, 
the emperor's great mother ? Was she not first by 
a murderous boatman's hand abused, then, mangled 
by the sword, lay she not long the victim of her 
cruel son? 

OCTAVIA 

Me also to the gloomy shades and ghosio, the 
cruel tyrant, see, is sending. Why do I now make 
vain and pitiable delay? Hurry me on to death, ye 
to whose power fortune hath given me. Witness, ye 
heavenly gods- -what wouldst thou, fool ? Pray not 

* See. Index. 4 Messaliua. 

8 Claudius. 6 Britannicus. 

7 The freedman, Narcissus. 

487 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

quibus invisa es numina divum. 

Tartara tester 

Erebique deas scelerum ultrices 

et te, genitor l dignum tali 

morte et poena. non invisa est 

mors ista inihi. 

armate ratem, date vela fretis 970 

ventisque petat puppis rector 

Pandatariae litora terrae. 



CHORVS 

Lenes aurae zephyrique leves, 
tectam quondam nube aetheria 
qui vexistis raptam saevae 
virgin is aris Iphigeniam, 
hanc quoque tristi procul a poena 
portate, precor, templa ad Triviae. 
urbe est nostra mitior Aulis 
et Taurorum barbara tellus : 980 

hospitis illic caede litatur 
numen superum ; 
civis gaudet Roma cruore. 

Leo suggests perde tyrannum between genitor and dignuni. 



488 



OCTAVIA 

to deities who scorn thee. Witness, O Tartarus, ye 
goddesses of Erebus who punish crime, and thou, O 
father : destroy the tyrant, 1 worthy such death and 
punishment. \To her guards.] I dread not the death 
you threaten. Put your ship in readiness, set sail 
upon the deep, and let your pilot speed before the 
winds to Pandataria's shore. 

[Exit OCTAVIA with her guards.] 

CHORUS 

Ye gentle breezes and ye zephyrs mild, that once 
caught Iphigenia wrapped in an airy cloud, and bore 
her from the altar of the cruel maid, 2 this maiden, 
too, far from her dire punishment bear ye, I pray, to 
the shrine of Trivia. More merciful than Rome is 
Aulis and the Taurians' barbarous land : there by the 
blood of strangers are the gods appeased ; but Rome's 
delight is in her children's blood. 

1 Translating Leo's suggestion. a Diana. 



48P 



COMPARATIVE ANALYSES 

OF THE TRAGEDIES IN THIS VOLUME AND 
THE CORRESPONDING GREEK DRAMAS 



The Phoenissae, if, indeed, these fragments are to be 
considered as belonging to one play, has no direct corre- 
spondent in Greek drama ; although, in the general situations 
and in some details, it is similar to parts of three plays : 
The Seven against Thebes of Aeschylus, the Oedipus at 
Colonus of Sophocles, and the Phoenician Damsels of 
Euripides. The Thyestes is without a parallel in extant 
Greek drama ; and the Octavia, of course, stands alone. 



COMPARATIVE ANALYSES 

THE GREEK DRAMAS 

THE AGAMEMNON OF AESCHYLUS 

Prologue. A watchman, stationed upon the palace roof at 
Argos, laments the tedium of his long and solitary task ; 
and prays for the time to come when, through the darkness 
of the night, he shall see the distant flashing of the beacon 
fire, and by this sign know that Troy has fallen and that 
Agamemnon is returning home. And suddenly he sees the 
gleam for which he has been waiting so long. He springs 
up with shouts of joy and hastens to tell the queen. At 
the same time he makes dark reference to that which has 
been going on within the palace, and which must now be 
hushed up. 

Parode, or chorus entry. A chorus of twelve Argive 
elders rings of the Trojan war, describing the omens with 
which the Greeks started on their mission of vengeance. 
They dwell especially upon the hard fate which forced 
Agamemnon to sacrifice his daughter. And in this the}' 
unconsciously voice one of the motives which led to the 
king's own death. 

First episode. Clytemnestra appears M'ith a statel}' pro- 
cession of torch -bearers, having set the whole city in gala 
attire, with sacrificial incense burning on all the altars. 
The chorus asks the meaning of this. Has she had news 
from Troy ? The queen replies that this very night she 
has had news, and describes at length how the signal 

492 



COM PAR ATI VE ANALYSES 



SENECA'S TRAGEDIES 

THE AGAMEMNON OF SENECA 

Prologue. The ghost of Thyestes coming from the lower 
pegions recites the mntif of the play : how he had been most 
foully dealt with by Agamemnon's father, Atreus, and how 
he had been promised revenge by the oracle of Apollo 
through his son Aegisthus, begotten of an incestuous union 
with his daughter. The ghost announces that the time for 
his revenge is come with the return of Agamemnon from the 
Trojan war, and urges Aegisthus to perform his fated part. 



Parode, or chorus entry. The chorus of Argive women 
complains of the uncertain condition of exalted fortune, and 
recommends the golden mean in preference to this. 



First episode. Clytemnestra, conscious of guilt, and 
fearing that her returning husband will severely punish 
her on account of her adulterous life with Aegisthus, resolves 
to add crime to crime and murder Agamemnon as soon as 
he comes back to his home. She is further impelled to this 
action by his conduct in the matter of her daughter, 

493 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Second choral interlude. The chorus sings of Helen as 
the bane of the Trojans : 

" Dire cause of strife with bloodshed in her train." 

And now 

" The penalty of foul dishonour done 
To friendship's board and Zeus " 

has been paid by Troy, which is likened to a man who 
fosters a lion's cub, which is harmless while still young, but 
when full grown " it shows the nature of its sires," and 
brings destruction to the house that sheltered it. 

Third episode. Agamemnon is seen approaching in his 
chariot, followed by his train of soldiers and captives. The 
chorus welcomes him, but with a veiled hint that all is not 
well in Argos. Agamemnon fittingly thanks the gods for his 
success and for his safe return, and promises in due time to 
investigate affairs at home. 

Clytemnestra, now entering, in a long speech of fulsome 
welcome, describes the grief which she lias endured for her 
lord's long absence in the midst of perils, and protests her 
own absolute faithfulness to him. She explains the absence 
of Orestes by saying that she has entrusted him to Strophius, 
king of Phocis, to be cared for in the midst of the troublous 
times. She concludes with the ambiguous prayer : 

" Ah, Zeus, work out for me 
All that I pray for ; let it be thy care 
To look to that thou purposest to work." 

Agamemnon, after briefly referring to Cassandra and 
bespeaking kindly treatment for her, goes into the palace, 
accompanied by Clytemnestra. 

Third choral interlude. The chorus, though it sees with 
its own eyes that all is well with Agamemnon, that he is 
returned in safety to his own home, is filled with sad 
forebodings of some hovering evil which it cannot dispel. 

Exode. Clytemnestra returns and bids Cassandra, who 
still remains standing in her chariot, to join the other slaves 
in ministering at the altar. But Cassandra stands motionless, 
paying no heed to the words of the queen, who leaves the 
scene saying : 

"I will not bear the shame of uttering more." 

496 



COMPARATIVE ANALYSES 

Second choral interlude. A chorus of captive Trojan 
women sings the fate and fall of Troy ; while Cassandra, 
seized with fits of prophetic fury, prophesies the doom that 
hangs over Agamemnon. 



Third episode. Agamemnon comes upon the scene, and, 
meeting Cassandra, is warned by her of the fate that hangs 
over him ; but she is not believed. 



Third choral interlude. Apropos of the fall of Troy, the 
chorus of Argive women sing the praises of Hercules, whose 
arrows had been required by fate for the destruction of Troy. 

Exode. Cassandra, either standing where she can see 
within the palace, or else by clairvoyant power, reports the 
murder of Agamemnon, which is being done within. 

Electra urges Orestes to flee before his mother and 
Aegisihus shall murder him also. Very opportunely, 
Strophius comes in his chariot, just returning as victor from 

497 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Cassandra now descends from her chariot and bursts into 
wild and woeful lamentations. By her peculiar clairvoyant 
power she foresees and declares to the chorus the death of 
Agamemnon at the hands of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus, as 
well as the manner of it ; she also foretells the vengeance 
which Orestes is destined to work upon the murderers. Her 
own fate is as clearly seen and announced, as she passes 
through the door into the palace. 

Soon the chorus hears the death-cry of Agamemnon, that 
he is "struck down with deadly stroke." They are faint- 
heartedly and with a multiplicity of counsel discussing what 
it is best to do, when Clytemnestra, with bloodstained 
garments and followed by a guard of soldiers, comes out 
from the palace. The corpses of Agamemnon and Cassandra 
are seen through the door within the palace. The queen 
confesses to, describes, and exults in the murder of her 
husband. The chorus makes elaborate lamentation for 
Agamemnon, and prophesies that vengeance will light on 
Clytemnestra. But she scorns their threatening prophecies. 
In the end Aegisthus enters, avowing that he has plotted 
this murder and has at last avenged his father, Thyestes. 
upon the father of Agamemnon, Atreus, who had so foully 
wronged Thyestes. The choi us curses him and reminds hitti 
that Orestes still lives and will surely avenge his father. 



THE MAIDENS OF TRACHIN OF SOPHOCLES 

Proloyue.In the courtyard of her palace in Trachin. 
Deianira recounts to her attendants and the chorus of 
Trachinian maidens how her husband had won her from the 
river god, Acheloii?, and how, during all these years, she 
has lived in fear and longing for her husband, who has been 
kept constantly wandering over the earth by those who hold 
him in their power ; and even now he has been for many 
months absent, she knows not where. 

An old servant proposes that she send her son, Hyllus, 
abroad to seek out his father. This the youth, who enters 
at this juncture, readily promises to do, especially on 

4-98 



COMPARATIVE ANALYSES 

the Olympic games. Electra entrusts her brother to his care, 
and betakes her own self to the altar for protection. 

Electra, after defying and denouncing her mother and 
Aegisthus, is dragged away to prison and torture, and 
Cassandra is led out to her death. 



THE HEKOULES OETAEUS OF SENECA 

Prologue. Hercules, about to sacrifice to Cenaean Jove 
after having conquered Eurytus, king of Oechalia, recounts 
at length his mighty toils on earth, and prays that now at 
last he may be given his proper place in heaven. He dis- 
patches his herald, Lichas, home to Trachin, to tell the 
news of his triumph, and to conduct the train of captives 
thither. 



4-99 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

hearing from his mother that the oracle declares this is the 
year in which his father shall end his life, 

J 

" Or, having this his task accomplished, 
Shall, through the coming years of all his life, 
Rejoice and prosper." 

Parode, or chorus entry. The chorus prays to Helios, the 
bright sun-god, for tidings of Hercules, for Deianira longs 
for him, and "ever nurses unforgetting dread as to her 
husband's paths." Hercules is tossed upon the stormy sea 
of life, now up, now down, but ever kept from death 
by some god's hands. Deianira should, therefore, be 
comforted : 

"For who hath known in Zeus forgetfulness 
Of those he children calls?" 

First episode. Deianira confides to the chorus her special 
cause for grief : she feels a strong presentiment that 
Hercules is dead ; for, when he last left home, he left a 
tablet, as it were a will, disposing of his chattels and his 
lands, 

"and fixed a time, 

That when for one whole year and three months more 
He from his land was absent, then 'twas his 
Or in that self-same hour to die, or else, 
Escaping that one crisis, thenceforth live with life unvexed." 

At this moment, however, a messenger enters and 
announces the near approach of Hercules, accompanied by 
his spoils of victory. 



First choral interlude. The chorus voices its exultant joy 
over this glad and unexpected news. 



500 



COMPARATIVE ANALYSES 



Parode, or cJiorus entry. The place of the chorus entry, 
which should be filled by the chorus proper, composed of 
Aetolian maidens, is taken by the band of captive Oechalian 
maidens. They bewail their lot and long for death ; they 
dwell upon the utter desolation of their fatherland, and 
upon the hard-heartedness of Hercules, who has laid it 
waste. 

lole, their princess, joins in their lamentations, recalls 
the horrors of her native city's overthrow, and looks 
forward with dread to her captivity. 

First episode. During the interval just preceding this 
episode the captives have been led to Trachin ; Deianira has 
seen the beauty of lole, and learned of Hercules' infatuation 
for her. She has by this news been thrown into a mad rage 
of jealousy, and takes counsel with her nurse as to how she 
may wreak vengeance upon her faithless husband, while the 
nurse vainly advises moderation. 

The nurse at last suggests recourse to magic, professing 
herself to be proficient in these arts. This suggests to 
Deianira the use of that blood of Nessus which the dying 
centaur had commended to her as an infallible love-charm. 
She takes occasion to relate at length the Nessus incident. 
She at once acts upon her decision to use the charm ; and 
speedily, with the nurse's aid, a gorgeous robe is anointed 
with the blood, and this is sent by Lichas' hand to 
Hercules. 

First choral interlude. The chorus of Aetolian women, 
who have followed Deianira from her girlhood's home to this 
refuge in Trachin, now tender to her their sympathy in her 
present sufferings. They recall all their past intercourse 
with her, and assure her of their undying fidelity. 

This suggests the rarity of such fidelity, especially in the 
courts of kings, and they discourse at large upon the sordid- 
ness and selfishness of courtiers in general. The moral of 
their discourse is that men should not aspire to great wealth 
and power, but should choose a middle course in life, which 
alone can bring happiness. 

50J 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Second episode. Lichas, the personal herald of Hercules, 
now enters, followed by lole and a company of captive 
women. He explains to Deianira how Hercules had been 
driven on by petty persecutions to slay Iphitus, the son 
of Eurytus, treacherously ; how he had for this been doomed 
by Zeus to serve Omphale, queen of Lydia, for a year ; 
and how in revenge he has now slain Eurytus, and even 
now is sending home these Oechalian captives as spoil ; 
Hercules himself is delaying yet a little while in Euboea, 
until he has sacrificed to Cenaean Jove. 

Deianira looks in pity upon the captives, praying that 
their lot may never come to her or hers ; and is especially 
drawn in sympathy to one beautiful girl, who, howevor, will 
answer no word as to her name and state. 

As all are passing into the palace, the messenger detains 
Deianira and tells her the real truth which Lichas has 
withheld: that this seemingly unknown girl is lole, daughter 
of Eurytus ; that it was not in revenge, but for love of 
lole, that Hercules destroyed her father's house, and that 
he is now sending her to his own home, not as his slave, 
but as his mistress, and rival of his wife. 

Lichas, returning from the palace, on being challenged by 
the messenger and urged by Deianira to speak the whole 
truth, tells all concerning Hercules' love for lole. 

Deianira receives this revelation with seeming equanimity 
and acquiescence. 

Second choral interlude. The chorus briefly reverts to thy 
battle of Acheloiis and Hercules for the hand of Deianira. 



Third episode. Deianira tells to the chorus the story of 
how Nessus, the centaur, had once insulted her, and for 
this had been slain by Hercules with one of his poisoned 

.-)02 



COMPARATIVE ANALYSES 

Second episode. Deianira comes hurrying distractedly out 
of the palace, and relates her discovery as to the horrible 
and deadly power of the charm which she has sent to her 
husband. 

While she is still speaking, Hyllus rushes in and cries 
out to his mother to flee from the wrath of Hercules, 
whose dreadful sufferings, after putting on the robe which 
his wife had sent to him, the youth describes at length. 
He narrates also the death of Lichas. The suffering hero 
is even now on his way by sea from Euboea, in a death-like 
swoon, and will soon arrive at Trachin. 

Deianira, smitten with quick repentance, begs Jupiter to 
destro}' her with his wrathful thunderbolts. She resolves on 
instant self-destruction, though H\ llus and the nurse vainly 
try to dissuade her, and to belittle her responsibility for 
the disaster ; and in the end she rushes from the scene, 
Hyllua following. 



Second choral interlude. The chorus, contemplating the 
changing fates of their prince's house, is reminded of the 
saying of Orpheus, "that naught for endless life is made.'' 
This leads to an extended description of Orpheus' sweet 
music and its power over all things, both animate and 
inanimate, and suggests the story of his unsuccessful attempt 
to regain Eurydioe. 

Returning to the original theme, the chorus speculates 
upon the time when all things shall fall into death, and 
chaos resume her primeval sway. 

It is startled out of these thoughts by loud groans, 
which prove to be the outcries of Hercules, borne home 
to Trachin. 

Third (pisode. Hercules in his ravings warns Jove to 
look well to his heavens, since now their defender is 
perishing. The giants will be sure to rise again and make 

503 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

arrows ; how, also, the centaur in dying had given her a 
portion of his blood, saying this would be a charm able 
to restore to her her husband's wandering love. She now 
resolves to use this charm. She anoints a gorgeous robe 
with the blood which she has preserved through all these 
years, and bids Lichas carry this to her lord as a special 
gift from her. He is to wear it as he offers his sacrifices 
to Cenaean Jove. Lichas departs upon this mission. 



504- 



COMPARATIVE ANALYSES 

another attempt upon the skies. He bitterly laments that 
he, who has overcome so many monsters, must die at last, 
slain by a woman's hand, and that woman not Juno, nor 
even an Amazon : 

" Ah, woe is me, 

How often have I 'scaped a gloiion.s death ! 
What honour comes from such an end as this ?" 

His burning pains coming on again, he cries out in agony, 
and describes the abject misery and weakness that have 
come upon him. Are these the shoulders, the hands, the 
feet, that were once so strong to bear, so terrible to strike, 
so swift to go? He strives to apprehend and tear away 
the pest that is devouring him, but it is too deep-hidden 
in his frame. He curses the day that has seen him weep, 
and beseeches Jove to smite him dead with a thunderbolt. 

Alcmena enters, and while she herself is full of grief, 
she strives to soothe and comfort her suffering son. He 
falls into a delirium, and thinks that he is in the heavens, 
looking down upon Trachin. But soon he awakes, and, 
realizing his pains once more, calls for the author of his 
misery, that he may slay her with his own hands. 

Hyllus, who has just entered from the palace, now informs 
his father that Deianira is already dead, and by her own 
hand ; that it was not her fault, moreover, but by the 
guile of Nessus, that Hercules is being done to death. 
The hero recognizes in this the fulfilment of an oracle once 
delivered to him : 

" By the hand of one whom thou hast slain, some day, 
Victorious Hercules, shalt thou lie low." 

And he comforts himself with the reflection that nuch an 
end as this is meet, for 

" Thus shall no conqueror of Hercules 
Survive to tell the tale." 

He now bids Philoctetes prepare a mighty pyre on 
neighbouring Mount Oeta, and there take and burn his 
body while still alive. Hyllus he bids to take the captive 
princess, lole, to wife. He calls upon his mother, Alcmena, 
to comfort her grief by pride in her great son's deeds on 
earth, and the noble fame which he has gained thereby. 

505 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

Third choral interlude. The chorus prays for the earl;. 
;ind safe return of Hercules from where he lingers : 

" Thence may he come, yea, come with strong desire, 

Tempered by suasive spell 
Of that rich unguent, as the monster spake." 



Fourth episode. Deianira discovers by experiment, now 
that it is too late, the destructive and terrible power of 
the charm which she has sent, and is filled with dire 
forebodings as to the result. 

Her lamentations are interrupted by Hyllus, who comes 
hurrying in ; he charges his mother with the murder of 
his father, and curses her. He then describes the terrible 
sufferings that have come upon the hero through the magic 
robe, and how Hercules, in the madness of pain, has slain 
Lichas, as the immediate cause of his sufferings. He has 
brought his father with him from Euboea to Trachin. 
Deianira withdraws into the palace, without a word, in 
an agony of grief. 

Fourth choral interlude. The chorus recalls the old oracle 
that after twelve years the son of Zeus should gain rest from 
toil, and sees in his impending death the fulfilment of this 
oracle. They picture the grief of Deianira over her act, and 
foresee the great changes that are coming upon their prince's 
house. 

Fifth episode. The nurse rushes in from the palace, and 
tells how Deianira has slain herself with the sword, bewail- 
ing the while the sufferings which she has unwittingly 
brought on Hercules; and how Hyllus repents him of his 
harshness towards his mother, realizing that she was not to 
blame. 

Fifth choral interlude. The chorus pours out its grief for 
the double tragedy. And now it sees Hyllus and attendants 
bearing in the dying Hercules. 

Exode. Hercules, awaking from troubled sleep, laments 
the calamity that has befallen him ; he chides the lands 
which h<i has helped, that now they do not hasten to his aid ; 
and prays Hyllus to kill him with the sword, and so put him 
out of his misery. 

506 



COMPARATIVE ANALYSES 

Third choral interlude. The chorus bids all nature mourn 
the death of Hercules. Verily the earth is bereft of her 
defender, and there is no one left to whom she may turn if 
again harassed by monsters. They speculate upon the place 
of the departed Hercules. Shall he sit in judgment among 
the pious kings of Crete in Hades, or shall he be given a 
place in heaven ? At least on earth he shall live in deathless 
gratitude and fame. 



Exode. Philoctetea enters and, in response to the 
ijuestions of the nurse, describes the final scene on Oeta's top. 
There a mighty pyre had been built, on which Hercules joy- 
fully took his place. There he reclined, gazing at the heavens, 
and praying hia father, Jupiter, to take him thither, in 

507 



THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA 

He denounces Deianira because she has brought suffering 
aud destruction upon him which no foe, man or beast, has 
ever been able to bring. He curses his own weakness, and 
laments that he must weep and groan like a woman. 

He marvels that his mighty frame, which for years has 
withstood so many monsters, his encounters with which he 
describes, can now be so weak and wasted. Reverting to his 
wife, he bids her to be brought to him that he may visit 
punishment upon her. 

Hyllus informs his father that Deianira has died by her 
own hand, for grief at what she has unwittingly brought 
upon her dear lord. It was, indeed, through Nessus' guile 
that the deed was done. 

Hercules, on hearing this, recognizes the fulfilment of the 
oracle : 

" Long since it was revealed of my sire 
That I should die by hand of none that live, 
But one who, dead, had dwelt in Hades dark." 

He exacts an oath of obedience from Hyllus, and then bids 
him take him to Mount Oeta, and there place him upon a 
pyre for burning. Hyllus reluctantly consents in all but the 
actual firing of the pyre. The next request is concerning 
lole, that Hyllus should take her as his wife. This mandate 
he indignantly refuses to obey, but finally yields assent. 
And in the end Hercules is borne away to his burning, 
while the chorus mournfully chants its concluding comment : 

" What cometh no man may know ; 
What is, is piteous for us, 
Base and shameful for them 
And for him who emlureth this woe, 
Above all that live hard to bear." 



508 



COMPARATIVE ANALYSES 

compensation for his service on the earth. His prayer seemed 
to be answered, and he cried aloud : 

" ' But lo, my father calls me from the sky, 
And opens wide the gates. sire, I come 1 ' 
And as he spake his face was glorified." 

He presented his famous bow and arrows to Philoctetcs, 
bidding him for this prize apply the torch and light the pyre, 
which his friend most reluctamtly did. The hero courted the 
flames, and eagerly pressed into the very heart of the burn- 
ing mass. 

In the midst of this narrative Alcmena enters, bearing in 
her bosom an urn containing the ashes of Hercules. The 
burden of her lament is that so small a compass and so 
pitiful an estate have come to the mighty body of her son, 
which one small urn can hold. But when she thinks upon 
his deeds, her thoughts fly to the opposite pole : 

" What sepulchre, son, what tomb for thee 
Is great enough ? Naught save the world itself." 

Then she takes up in quickened measures her funeral song 
of mourning, in the midst of which the deified Hercules, 
taking shape in the air above, speaks to his mother, bidding 
her no longer mourn, for he has at last gained his place in 
heaven. 

The chorus strikes a fitting final note, that the truly brave 
are not destined to the world below : 

" But when life's days are all consumed, 
And comes the final hour, for them 
A pathway to the gods is spread 
By glory." 



509 



INDEX 



INDEX 



[References are to the lines of the Latin text. If the passage Is longer 
than one line, only the first line is cited. Line citations to passages of 
especial importance to the subject under discussion are starred. The 
names of the characters appearing in these tragedies are printed In large 
capitals, with the name of the tragedy in which the character occurs 
following in parentheses.] 



ABsrRTUS, son of Aeetes and 
brother of Medea. Medea, fleeing 
with Jason from Colchis, slew 
him and scattered his mangled 
remains behind her, in order to 
retard her father's pursuit, Med. 
121, 125, *131, 452, 473, 911 ; his 
dismembered ghost appears to 
Medea, ibid. 963 

ABYLA, see CALPE 

AOASTUS, son of Pelias, king of 
Thessaly Demands Jason and 
Medea from Creon, king of Cor- 
inth, to punish him for the 
murder of Pelias through Medea's 
machinations, Med. 257, 415, 
521, 526 

ACHELOUS, the river-god. Fought 
with Hercules for the possession 
of Deianira, changing himself into 
various forms, H, Get. *299 ; 
defeated by Hercules, ibid. *495 

ACHERON, one of the rivers of 
Hades, Thy. 17 ; described by 
Theseus, H. Fur. 715 

ACHILLES, son of Peleus and Thetis, 
a hero in the Trojan War. Was 
connected by birth with heaven 
(Jupiter), the sea (Thetis), and 
the lower world (Aeacus), Tro. 
344 ; educated by Chiron, the 
centaur, ibid. 832 ; hidden by his 
mother in the court of Lycomedes, 
king of Scyros, in a girl's dis- 
guise, in order to keep him from 
the war, ibid. 213 ; while there, 
became the father of Pyrrhus b> 



Deldamia, the king's daughter, 
ibid. 342 ; his activit'es early in 
Trojan War, ibid. 182 ; wounds 
and cures Telephus, ibid. *215 ; 
overthrows Lyrnessus and Chry- 
sa, taking captive Briseis and 
Chryseis, ibid. 220 ; his anger on 
account of the loss of Briseis, 
ibid. 194, 318 ; example of the 
taming power of love, Oct. 814 ; 
slays Memnon and trembles at 
his own victory, Tro. *239 ; slays 
Penthesilea, the Amazon, ibid. 
243 ; works havoc among Trojans 
in revenge for Patroclus' death, 
Agam. 619 ; slays Hector and 
drags his body around walls, 
Tro. 189 ; is slain by Paris, ibid. 
347 ; his ghost appears to Greeks 
on eve of their homeward voyage, 
demanding sacrifice of Polyxena 
upon his tomb, ibid. *170 

ACTAEON, grandson of Cadmus, who 
saw Diana bathing near Cithae- 
ron. For this was changed by the 
goddess into a stag which was 
pursued and slain by his own 
dogs, Oed. *751 ; Phoen. 14 

ACTE, the mistress of Nero who 
displaced Poppaea, Oct. 195 

ADMETUS, see ALCESTIS 

ADRASTUS, king of Argos. Received 
the fugitive Pqlynices, gave him 
his daughter in marriage, and 
headed the Seven against Thebes, 
in order to seat Polynices upon 
throne, Phoen. 374 

513 



INDEX 



ABACUS, son of Jupiter and Eurqpa, 
father of Peleus ; for his just 
rule on earth was made a judge 
in Hades, E. Oet. 1558 ; U. Fur. 
734. See under JUDGED IN HADES 

AEETES, king of Colchis, son of 
Phoebus and Persa, father of 
Medea, Med. 210 ; grandeur, ex- 
tent, and situation of kingdom, 
ibid. 209 ; its wealth, ibid. 483 ; 
had a wonderful robe as proof 
that Phoebus was his father; 
this Medea anoints with magic 
poison and sends to Creusa, ibid. 
670 ; was despoiled of realm 
through theft of golden fleece, 
ibid. 913 

AEGEUS, see THESEUS 

AEGISTHUS (Agamemnon), son of 
incestuous union of Thyestes and 
his daughter. His birth the 
result of Apollo's advice to 
Thyestes, Agam. 48, 294 ; recog- 
nises that the fatal day is come 
for which he was born, ibid. 226 ; 
lived In guilty union with 
Clytemnestra, wife of Agamem- 
non, ibid, passim 

AEGOCEROS, poetical expression for 
Capricornus, constellation of the 
Goat, Thy. 864 

AEGYPTUS, see DANAIDES 

AESCULAPIUS, son of Apollo and the 
nymph Coronis ; was versed in 
medicine, was deified, and wor- 
shipped at Epidaurus, Hip. 1022 

AETNA, volcano in Sicily, Phoen. 
314 ; Its fires, Hip. 102 ; H. Oet. 
285 ; seat of Vulcan's forge, H 
Fur. 106 ; lay upon the buried 
Titan's breast, Med. 410 

AGAMEMNON (Troades, Agamem- 
non), king of Mycenae, son of 
Atreus, brother of Menelaiis, 
commander of the Greeks at Troy. 
He and Menelaiis used by Atreus 
to entrap Thyestes, Thy. 325 ; 
tamed by love, Oct. 815 ; took 
captive Chryseig, Agam. 175 ; 
compelled to give her up, he took 
Bryseis from Achilles, ibid. 186; 
attempts to dissuade Pyrrhus 
from the sacrifice of Polyxena, 
Tro. *203 ; loved Cassandra, 
Agam. 188, 255 ; his power 
magnified ibid. 204 ; his home- 
ward voyage and wreck of his 

5U 



fleet, ibid. *421 ; returns to 
Mycenae, ibid. 782 ; his murder 
described by Cassandra, ibid. 
867. See CASSANDRA, CLYTEM- 
NESTRA, IPHIGENIA, PYRRHUS 

AGAVE, daughter of Cadmus and 
Harmonia mother of Pentheus, 
king of Thebes. She and her 
Bisters, In Bacchic frenzy, slew 
Pentheus on Cithaeron, and bore 
his head to Thebes, Oed. 1006 ; 
Phoen. 15, 363 ; her shade appears 
from Hades, Oed. 616. See 
PENTHEUS 

AGRIPPINA I, daughter of M. Vip- 
sanius Agrippa and Julia, daugh- 
ter of Augustus, mother of 
Caligula. Died in exile at 
Pandataria, Oct. *932 

AGRIPPINA II (Octavia), daughter 
of the preceding, wife of Cn. 
Domitius Ahenobarbus, mother 
of Nero. Married Claudius, whom 
she poisoned, Oct. 26, 45, 165, 
340 ; was stepmother of Octavia, 
and cause or all her woes, ibid. 
22 ; plotted murder of Silanus, 
betrothed lover of Octavia, and 
forced her to marry Nero, ibid. 
150 ; sought in all this her own 
power, ibid. 155, 612 ; was 
murdered by her son, Nero, ibid. 
46, 95, 165 ; her murder attribu- 
ted to Poppaea's influence, ibid. 
126 ; described in full detail, 
ibid. *310, *600; former high 
estate and pitiable death con- 
trasted, ibid. 952 ; her ghost 
appears to curse Nero, ibid. 
*593 

AJAX, son of Olleus, called simply 
Oileus ; his death described, Med. 
660 ; for his defiance of the gods 
was destroyed by Pallas and 
Neptune in storm which wrecked 
the Greek fleet, Agam. *532 

AJAX, son of Telamon, crazed with 
rage because the armour of 
Achilles was awarded to Ulysses, 
Agam. 210 

ALCKSTIS, wife of Admetus, king of 
Pherae, to save whose life she 
resigned her own, Med. 662 

ALClDES, see HERCULES 

ALCMENA (Hercules Oetaeus), wife 
of Amphitryon, a Theban prince, 
beloved of Jupiter, mother by 



INDEX 



him of Hercules, H. Fur. 22, 490, 
See HERCULES 

ALCYONE, see CEYX 

ALTHAEA, wife of Oeneus, king of 
Calydonia, mother of Meleager. 
In revenge for Meleager's slaugh- 
ter of her two brothers, burned 
the charmed billet on which her 
son's life depended, and so 
compassed his death, Med. 779 ; 
unnatural mother, H. Oet. 954 

AMALTHEA, goat of Olenus, fed the 
infant Jove, was set as constella- 
tion in the sky ; not yet known as 
such in the golden age, Med. 313. 
See OLENUS. 

AMAZONS, warlike women on Ther- 
modon, Med. 215 ; even they 
have loved, Uip. 575 ; conquered 
by Bacchus, Oed. 479 ; Clytem- 
nestra compared to them, Agam. 
736; allies of Troy, Tro. 12; 
their queen, Penthesilea, slain by 
Achilles, ibid. 243 ; Hercules 
laments that he had not been 
slain by the Amazon, Hippolyte, 
H. Oet. 1183. See ANTIOPE, 
PENTHESILEA, HIPPOLYTE 

AMPHlON, son of Antiope by 
Jupiter, king of Thebes, husband 
of Niobes renowned for his music ; 
built Thebes' walls by the magic 
of his lyre, Phoen. 566 ; H. Fur 
262 ; his hounds are heard baying 
at the time of the plague at 
Thebes, Oed. 179 ; his shade 
arises from Hades, ibid. 612 

AMPHITRYON (Hercules Furens)> 
Theban prince, husband of Her- 
cules' mother. Alcmena, H. Fur. 
309 ; proves that Jupiter is father 
of Hercules, ibid. 44U; welcomes 
Hercules returning from Hades, 
ibid. 618 

ANCAEUS, Arcadian hero, Argonaut, 
slam by Calydonian boar, Med. 
643 

ANDROMACHE (Troades), wife of 
Hector, mother of Astyanax ; 
attempts to hide and save her 
son from Ulysses, Tro. *430 ; 
given by lot to Pyrrhus, ibid. 
976. See ASTYANAX 

ANTAEUS, Libyan giant, son of 
Neptune and Terra, famous 
wrestler, who gained new strength 
by being thrown to mother earth ; 



strangled by Hercules, who held 
him aloft, H. Fur. 482, 1171 ; 
H. Oet. 24, 1899 ; Alcmena fears 
that a son of his may come to 
vex the earth, H. Oet. 1788 See 

TT PR.OTTT VS 

ANTIGONE (Phoenissae), daughter 
of Oedipus and Jocasta ; refuses 
to desert Oedipus, Phoen. 51 ; 
Oedipus wonders that one so pure 
should have sprung from so vile 
a house, ibid. 80 ; argues her 
father's innocence, ibid. 203 

ANTIOPB, Amazon wife of Theseus, 
slain by him, Hip. 226, 927, 
1167 ; mother of Hippolytus by 
Theseus, ibid. 398 ; personal 
appearance, ibid. *398 ; her 
beauty inherited by Hippolytus, 
ibid. 659 

ANTONIUS (Marc Antony), Roman 
general, defeated by Octavianus 
at Actium ; fled with Cleopatra 
to Egypt, Oct. 518 

APOLLO, son of Jupiter and Latona, 
born hi Delos, H. Fur. 453 ; 
twin brother of Diana, Med. 87 ; 
the laurel his sacred tree, Agam. 
588 ; god of the prophetic tripod, 
Med. 86 ; inspirer of priestess at 
liis oracle, Oed. 269 ; god of the 
bow, is himself pierced by 
Cupid's arrows, Hip. 192 ; killed 
Python, H. Fur. 455 ; doomed 
to serve a mortal for killing the 
Cyclopes, kept the flocks of 
Admetus, ibid. 451 ; Hip. 296 ; 
hymn in praise of, Agam. 310 ; 
worshipped as the sun under the 
name of Phoebus Apollo. See 
PHOEBUS 

AQUARIUS, zodiacal constellation, 
the Water-bearer, Thy. 865 

ARABES, inhabitants of Arabia, 
famed for their spices, Oed. 117 ; 
sun-worshippers, H . Oet. 793 ; 
use poisoned darts, Med. 711 

ARCTOPHYLAX, Bear-keeper, a nor- 
thern constellation, called also 
Bootes, according as the two 
adjacent constellations are called 
the Bears (Arctos, Ursae), or the 
Wagons (Plaustra). By a fusion 
of the two conceptions, is called 
Arctophylax and custos plaustri 
in the same connection, Thy. 
874. See BOOTES 

515 



INDEX 



ARCADIANS, most ancient race of 
men, H. Get. 1883 ; Hip. 786 

ARCADIAN BEARS, constellations of 
the Great and Little Bears, which 
do not set, H. Fur. 129. See 
ARCTOS, BEARS, and CALLISTO 

ARCADIAN BOAR, captured by Her- 
cules and brought to Eurystheu*, 
Agam. 832 ; II. Fur. 229 ; 11. 
Oet. 1536. See HERCULES 

ARCADIAN STAG, captured by Her- 
cules, H. Fur. 222. See HERCULES 

4RCTOS, the double constellation 
of the Great and Little Bears, 
Oed. 507 ; called also Arcadian 
stars, ibid. 478 See BEAKS and 
CALLISTO 

ARQO, ship in which the heroes 
under Jason sailed to Colchis in 
quest of the golden fleece, Mcd. 
361 ; sailed from lolchos in 
Thessaly, Tro. 819 n. adventure 
of the Argonauts, ibid. *301 ; this 
voyage was impious, ibid. 335 ; 
Tiphys the builder and pilot of 
Argo, ibid. 3, 318 ; he was in- 
structed by Minerva, ibid. 3, 
365 ; the Argo's keel made from 
the talking oak of Dodona, ibid. 
349 ; sailing of the new ship 
described, ibid. *318 ; how it 
escaped the Symplegades, ibid. 
*341 ; roll of the Argonauts, 
ibid. *227 ; nearly all came to a 
violent death, ibid. *607 

AROOS, capital of Argolis, sacred to 
Juno, home of heroes, Agam. 
808 ; paid homage to Bacchus, 
after he had won Juno's favour, 
Oed. 486 

ARIADNE, daughter of Minos, king 
of Crete ; loved Theseus, whom 
she helped escape from the 
labyrinth, Hip. 662; fled with 
Theseus, but was deserted by 
him on Naxos, ibid. 665 ; was 
there found and beloved by 
Bacchus, Oed. 448, who married 
her and set her bridal crown as a 
constellation in the sky, ibid. 
497 ; H. Fur. 18 ; Hip. 663 ; 
pardoned by her father for her 
love of Theseus, ibid. 245 

ARIES, golden-fleeced ram which 
bore Phrixus and Helle, and was 
afterwards set in the sky as a 
zodiacal constellation, Thy. 850 

516 



ASTRAEA, goddess of Justice, who 
lived among men in the golden 
age, but finally left earth because 
of man's sins, Oct. 424, Thy. 857 ; 
is the zodiacal constellation, 
Virpo, H. Oet. 69 ; called, incor- 
rectly and perhaps figuratively, 
mother of Somnus, H. Fur. 1068. 
See JUSTICE 

ASTYANAX (Troades), son of 
Hector and Andromache, pic- 
tured as leading his playmates in 
a dance around the wooden horse, 
Agam. 634 ; compared with his 
father, Tro. 464 ; his death 
demanded by the Greeks, ibid. 
369 ; reasons for his death from 
the Greek standpoint, ibid. 526 ; 
his doom announced to Andro- 
mache, ibid. 620, who tells of 
her disappointed hopes of him. 
ibid. *770 ; his death described 
by messenger, ibid. *1068 

ATLANTIADES, see PLEIADES 

ATLAS, mountain in north-west 
Libya, conceived as a giant upon 
whose head the heavens rest 
H. Oet. 12, 1599 ; eased of his 
burden by Hercules, ibid. 1905 

ATREUS (Thyestes), son of Pelops, 
father of Agamemnon and Mene- 
laiis, brother of Thyestes, between 
whom and himself existed a 
deadly feud. Plans how he will 
avenge himself upon his brother, 
Thy. 176 ; describes his brother's 
sins against himself, ibid. 220 ; 
his revenge takes shape, ibid. 
260 ; place and scene of his 
murder of the sons of Thyes- 
tes. ibid. *650 ; gloats over his 
brother's agony, ibid. 1057 

ATTIS. Phrygian shepherd, mourned 
by priests of Cybele, Agam. 686 

AUQE, Arcadian maiden, loved by 
Hercules, mother by Mm of 
Telephus, H. Oet. 367 

AUGEAN STABLES, stables of Augeas, 
king of Elis, containing three 
thousand head of cattle and 
uncleansed for thirty years ; 
cleaned by Hercules in a single 
day, H. Fur. 247 

AUGUSTUS, first emperor of Rome ; 
his rule cited by Seneca to Nero 
as a model of strong but merciful 
away, Oct. *477 ; his bloody path 



INDEX 



to power described by Nero, 
ibid. *505 ; deified at death, ibid 
528 

AULIS, seaport of Boeotia, rendez- 
vous of the Greek fleet. Here it 
was stayed by adverse winds, 
until Iphigenia was sacrificed, 
Agam. 567 ; Tro. 164 ; hostility 
of Aulis to all ships because her 
king, Tiphys, had met death on 
the Argonautic expedition, Med. 
622. See IPHIGENIA 



B 



RACCHTTS, son of Jupiter and 
Semele, daughter of Cadmus. 
Saved from the womb of his 
mother. Oed. 602 ; Med. 84 ; H. 
Fur. 457 ; to escape the wrath of 
Juno, he was hidden in Arabian 
(or Indian) Nysa, where, dis- 
guised as a girl, he was nourished 
by the nymphs, Oed. *418 ; in 
childhood captured by Tyrian 
pirates, who, frightened by 
marvellous manifestations of di- 
vine power on board their ship, 
leaped overboard and were 
changed into dolphins, ibid. *449 ; 
visited India, accompanied by 
Theban heroes, ibid. *113 ; H. 
Fur. 903 ; visited Lydia and 
sailed on the Pactolus, Oed. 
467 ; conquered the Amazons and 
many other savage peoples, ibid. 
469 ; god of the flowing locks, 
crowned with ivy, carrying the 
thyrsus, ibid. 403 : H Fur. 472 ; 
Hip. *753 ; marvellous powers of 
the thyrsus, Oed. *491 ; attended 
by his foster-father Silenus, ibid. 
429 ; called Bassareus, Oed. 432 ; 
Bromius, Hip. 760 ; Ogygian 
lacchus, Oed. 437 ; Nyctelius, 
ibid. 492 ; destroyed Lycurgus, 
king of Thrace, because of oppo- 
sition to him, H. Fur. 903 ; 
inspired his maddened worship- 
pers, the women of Thebes, to 
rend Pentheus in pieces, Oed. 
441, 483 ; helped Jupiter in war 
against the giants, H. Fur. 458 ; 
found Ariadne on Naxos, made 
her his wife, and set her bridal 
crown in the sky, Oed. 488, 497 



Hip. 760 ; H Fur. 18 ; dithyram 
bic chorus in his praise, giving* 
numerous incidents in his career, 
Oed. **403 ; won the favour of 
Juno and the homage of her city 
of Argos, ibid. 486 ; gamed a 
place in heaven, H. Oet. 94. See 
ARIADNE, BASSARIDES.BROMIUS, 
NYCTELIUS, OOYQES, PENTHEUS, 
PROETIDES, SEMELE, SILENUS 

BASSARIDES, female worshippers of 
Bacchus, so called because clad 
in fox-skins. Oed. 432 

BEARS, the northern constellations 
of the Great and Little Bears ; 
were forbidden by the jealous 
Juno to bathe in the ocean, H. 
Oet. 281, 1585 ; Thy. 477 ; Med. 
405 ; have plunged into the sea 
under influence of magic, ibid 
758 ; shall some day, by reversal 
of Nature's laws, plunge beneath 
the sea, Thy. 867 ; Great Bear 
used for steering ships by Greeks, 
Little Bear by Phoenicians, Med. 
694. See ARCADIAN BEARS, 
ARCTOS, CALLISTO 

BELIAS, one of the Belldes, or 
granddaughters of Belus; they 
were also called Danaldes from 
their father, Danatis, H. Oet. 960 

BELLONA, goddess of war, dwells 
in hell, H. Oet. 1312 ; haunts the 
palaces of kings, Agam. 82 

BOEOTIA, named from the heifer 
which guided Cadmus to the 
place where he should found his 
city, Oed. 722 

BOOTES, northern constellation of 
the Wagoner, driving his wagons 
(plaustra), under which form 
also the two Bears are conceived, 
Oct. 233 ; Agam. 70 ; unable to 
set beneath the sea, ibid. 69 ; 
not yet known as a constellation 
in the golden age, Med. 315 

BRIAREUS, one of the giants who 
stormed heaven, H. Oet. 167 

BRISEIS, a captive maiden, beloved 
by her captor, Achilles, from 
whom she was taken by Aga- 
memnon, Tro. 194, 220, 318 

BRITANNICUS, son of the emperor 
Claudius and Messalina, brother 
of Octavia, and stepbrother of 
Nero, by whom, at the instigation 
of Agrippiua, Nero's mother, he 

517 



INDEX 



was murdered, In order that Nero 
might undisputed have the throne, 
Oct. 47, 67, *166, 242, 269 

BROMIUS (the " noisy one "), epithet 
of Bacchus, Hip. 760 

BRUTUS, friend of Julius Caesar, 
leader of the conspirators against 
him, Oct. 498 

BUSIRIS, king of Egypt, who sacri- 
ficed strangers and was slain 
by Hercules, Tro. 1106; fl. Fur. 
483 ; H. Oet. 26 ; Alcmena fears 
that a son of his may come to 
vex the earth, ibid. 1787 



CADMEYPES, daughters of Cadmus, 
e.g. Agave, Autonoe, Ino, who 
tore Pentheus in pieces, H. Fur. 
758 

CADMUS, son of Agenor, king of 
Phoenicia. Sent by his father 
to find his lost sister, Europa, 
he wandered over the earth, at 
last founding a land of his own 
(Bpeotia), guided thither by a 
heifer sent by Apollo. Here he 
kills the serpent sacred to Mars, 
BOWS its teeth, and from them 
armed men spring up, Oed. 
**712 ; H. Fur. 261, 917 ; 
Phoen. 125 ; was changed to a 
serpent, H. Fur. 392 ; his house 
was accursed, Phoen. 644 

CAESAR, Julius, a mighty general, 
slain by his fellow-citizens, Oct. 
500 

CALCHAS (Troades), seer of the 
Greeks before Troy ; his prophetic 
power, Tro. *353 ; decides that 
Polyxena must be sacrificed, 
ibid. 360 

CALLISTO, nymph of Arcadia, be- 
loved of Jove, changed into a 
bear by Juno, and set in the 
heavens by Jove as the Great 
Bear, while her son Areas was 
made the Little Bear, fl. Fur. 
6 ; is the constellation by which 
Greek sailors guided their ships, 
ibid. 7 ; called the frozen Bear, 
ibid. 1139. See JUPITER, ARCTOS, 
BEAKS 

CALPE, one side of the passage 
rent by Hercules. One of the 

518 



" pillars of Hercules," Gibraltar, 
the opposite mass in Africa being 
called Abyla, H. Fur. 237 ; fl. 
Oet. 1240, 1253, 1569 

CANCER, zodiacal constellation of 
the Crab, in which the sun is 
found at the summer solstice, 
Thy. 854 ; Hip. 287 ; fl. Oet. 
41, 67, 1219, 1573 

CAPHEREUS, cliff of Euboea, where 
Nauplius lured the Greek fleet 
to destruction, Agam 560. See 
NAUPLIUS 

CAPNOMANTIA, method of divining 
by observation of the smoke of 
sacrifice, Oed. *325 

CASSANDRA (Agamemnon), be- 
loved by Apollo, but, since she was 
false to him, the gift of prophecy 
was made of no avail by his decree 
that she should never be believed, 
Tro. 34 ; Agam. 255, 588 ; given 
by lot to Agamemnon, Tro. 978 ; 
in prophetic frenzy describes the 
murder of Agamemnon, Agam. 
*720 ; is led to death, predicting 
death of Clytemnestra and Aegis- 
thus, ibid. 1004 

CASTOR, one of the twin sons of 
Jupiter and Leda, wife of Tyn- 
dareus, king of Sparta ; his 
brother was Pollux, Phoen. 128 ; 
Castor rode the famous horse. 
Cyllarus, given by Juno, Hip. 
810 ; the twins were Argonauts, 
Med. 230 ; called Tyndaridae, 
fl. Fur. 14 ; Castor a horseman, 
Pollux a boxer, Med. 89 ; the 
two were set as constellations in 
the sky to the grief of Juno, Oct. 
208 ; Thy. 628 

CAUCASUS, mountain range between 
the Black and Caspian Seas, 
Thy. 1048 ; here Prometheus was 
chained, fl. Oet. 1378 ; Med. 
709. See PROMETHEUS 

CECROPS, mythical founder and 
first king of Athens ; the Athe- 
nians called Cecropians, Med. 76 ; 
Thy. 1049 

CENAEUM, north-west promontory 
of Euboea ; here Hercules sacri- 
ficed to Cenaean Jove after his 
victory over Eurytus, fl Oet. 
102 ; while sacrificing here, 
Hercules donned the poisoned 
robe sent by Deianira, ibid. 782 



INDEX 



CENTAURS, race in Thessaly, half 
man, half horse, H. Oet. 1049, 
1195, 1925; their fight with 
Lapithae. H. Fur. 778 ; the 
centaur Nessus killed by Her- 
cules, H. Oet. *503. See CHIRON, 

N ESSUS 

CERUERUS, three-headed dog, guar- 
dian of Hades, Thy. 16 ; H. Oet. 
2;i ; H. Fur. 1107 ; his existence 
denied, Tro. 404 ; said to have 
broken out of Hades and to be 
abroad in the Theban land, Oed. 
171 ; his clanking chains heard 
on earth, ibid. 581 ; Hercules 
brought him to the upper world, 
H. Oet. 1245 ; Agam. 859 ; H. 
Fur. *50, 547 ; Theseus describes 
him and tells how he was brought 
to the upper world by Hercules, 
ibid. *760 ; his actions in the 
light of day, ibid. *813 See 
HERCULES 

CERES, daughter of Saturn, sister 
of Jupiter, mother of Proserpina, 
and goddess of agriculture ; her 
vain and anxious search for her 
daughter, H. Fur. 659 ; taught 
Triptolemus the science of agri- 
culture, Hip. 838 ; mystic rites 
of her worship. H. Fur. 300, 845. 
Her name used by metonymy 
for grain. See ELEUSIN, PROSER- 
PINA, TRIPTOLEMUS 

CEYX, king of Trachin, suffered 
death by shipwreck. His wife, 
Alcyone, mourned him incessant- 
ly ; finally both were changed 
into kingfishers, H. Oet. 197 ; 
Agam. 681 ; Oct. 7 

CHAONIAN OAKS, sacred grove in 
Chaonia of Epirus containing a 
temple and oracle of Jupiter, said 
to be oldest oracle in Greece ; 
oracles supposed to be given 
out by the oaks themselves, 
endowed with speech, or by the 
doves which resorted there. 
" Chaonian trees " used for tall 
trees in general, Oed. 728 ; the 
" talking oak " of Chaonia, H . 
Oet. 1623. See DODONA 

CHARON, aged ferryman of the 
Styx, E. Fur. 555; Agam. 752; 
his personal appearance, ibid. 
*764 ; forced by Hercules to bear 
him across the Lethe (not Styx), 



ibid. *770 ; overwearied by 
transporting throngs of Theban 
dead, Oed. 166 ; charmed by 
-music of Orpheus, H. Oet. 1072 

CHARYBDIS, whirlpool between 
Italy and Sicily, opposite Scylla, 
Med. 408 ; H. Oet. 235 ; Thy. 
581. See SCYLLA 

CHIMAERA, monster combining lion, 
dragon, and goat, vomited forth 
fire, Med. 828 

CHIRON, centaur dwelling In a 
cavern on Pelion, famous for his 
knowledge of medicine and 
divination. To his training 
were entrusted Jason, Hercules, 
Aesculapius, and Achilles, H. Fur. 
971 ; Tro. 832 ; set in the sky 
as zodincal constellation of 
Sagittarius, Thy. 860 

CHRYSEIS, daughter of Chryses, 
priest of Apollo at Chrysa. 
Taken captive, she fell to the lot 
of Agamemnon, who, forced to 
give her up, claimed Briseis 
captive maid of Achilles. Hence 
arose strife between the two, 
Tro. 223. See ACHILLES 

CIRRHA, ancient town In Phocis, 
near Delphi, Oed. 269 ; H. Oet. 
92, 1475 

CITHAERON, mountain near Thebes 
where the infant Oedipus was 
exposed, Phoen. 13 ; the scene of 
many wild and tragic deeds, see 
AOTAEON, AGAVE, DIRGE, PEN- 

THEUS 

CLAUDIUS, fourth Roman emperor, 
father of Octavia, murdered by 
his second wife, Agrippina, Oct. 
26, 45, 269. 

CLOTHO, one of the three fates or 
Parcae, supposed to hold the 
distaff and spin the thread of life, 
H. Oet. 768 ; Oct. 16 ; Thy. 617 

CLYTEMNESTRA (Agamemnon), 
daughter of Tyndareus and Leda, 
sister of Helen, wife of Agamem- 
non, mother of Orestes, Iphigenia, 
and Electra ; called Tyndaris, 
Agam. 897 During uer husband's 
absence engaged in conspiracy 
with Aegisthus to murder Aga- 
memnon. Deliberates whether to 
give up her course of crime or 
carry it through, ibid. 108 ; tests 
Aegisthus' courage and deter- 

519 



INDEX 



mlnation, ibid. 239 ; her murder 
of Agamemnon prophesied and 
described by Cassandra, *734. See 
AGAMEMNON and AEGISTHUS 

OOCYTUS, "the river of lamen- 
tation," river of Hades, H. Oct. 
1963 ; " sluggish, vile," H. Fur. 
686 ; the river over which spirits 
cross to the land of the dead, 
ibid. 870 

COLCHIAN BULL, fire-breathing mon- 
ster which Jason was set to 
yoke to the plough ; Medea claims 
to have preserved some of his 
breath for her magic uses, Med. 829 

COLCHIAN WOMAN, see MEDEA 

:REON (Medea), king of Corinth, 
to whose court Jason and Medea 
fled when driven out of Thessaly ; 
father of Creiisa, for whom he 
selected Jason as husband, de- 
creeing banishment of Medea ; 
headstrong and arbitrary, Med. 
143 ; allows Medea one day of 
respite from exile, ibid. *190 ; 
called son of Sisyphus, ibid. 512 ; 
his death and that of his daughter, 
ibid. *879 

CREON (Oedipus), Theban prince, 
brother of Jocasta. Oed. 210 ; 
sent by Oedipus to consult oracle, 
reports that cause of plague is 
unavenged murder of Lalus, 
ibid. *210 ; announces that 
Oedipus himself is guilty of the 
murder. Is thrown into prison 
by Oedipus on charge of conspi- 
racy with Tiresias, ibid. *509 ; 
slain by the usurper, Lycus, fl. 
Fur. 254 

CRETAN BULL, laid waste the island 
of Crete ; caught and taken to 
Eurystheus by Hercules, H. Fur. 
230 ; Agam. 833. See HERCULES 

CEF.OSA (Medea), daughter of 
Creon, king of Corinth ; Creon 
chose Jason as her husband, 
Med. 105 : Jason's wife, Medea, 
swears that Creiisa shall not bear 
brothers to her children, ibid. 
509 ; Jason charged by Medea 
with love for Creiisa, ibid. 495 ; 
Medea prepares a magic robe as 
present for Creiisa, ibid. *816 ; 
Creiisa's death, ibid. 879 

CRISPINUS, Roman knight, the 
husband of Poppaea, Oct. 731 

520 



CUPID, god of love, son of Veuus ; 
addressed and characterised by 
Deianira, H. Oet. *541 ; all-power- 
ful over gods and men, Uip. 
*185 ; his wide sway and instances 
of his irresistible power, ibid. 
**275 ; his power, Oct. 806 ; 
there is no such god, ibid. **557 ; 
Hip. **275 

CYBELE, goddess worshipped In 
Phrygian groves, Hip. 1135 ; 
pines of Ida sacred to her, 
Tro. 72 ; wears a turreted crown, 
her worship described, Agam. 
686 

CYCLOPES, race of giants in Sicily, 
each having but one eye ; said to 
have built walls of Mycenae, 
U. Fur. 997 ; Thy. 407 ; Poly- 
phemus, a Cyclop, sits on a crag 
of Aetna, ibid. 582 

CYCNUS, son of Mars, slain by 
Hercules, H. Fur. 485 

CYCNUS, son of Neptune, slain by 
Achilles and changed into a 
swan, Agam. 215 ; Tro. 184 

CYLLARUS, famous horse which 
Jtmo received from Neptune and 
presented to Castor, Hip. 811 

CYNOSURA, constellation of the 
Lesser Bear, Thy. 872 



D 



DAEDALUS, Athenian architect, the 
father of Icarus. Helped Pasi- 
phae, wife of Minos, to accom- 
plish her unnatural desires, Hip. 
120 ; built the labyrinth for 
Minotaur, ibid. 122, 1171 ; his 
escape from Crete on wings, Oed. 
*822 ; safe because he pursued a 
middle course, H. Oet. 683 

DAMOCLES, a courtier of Dionysius, 
tyrant of Syracuse, who showed 
his guest a sword hanging by a 
hair over his head as he lay at 
banquet, H. Oet. 656 

DANAE, daughter of Acrisius, 
mother of Perseus by Jupiter, 
who approached her in a golden 
shower, Oct. 207, 772. See 
PERSEUS 

DANAIDES, fifty daughters of Dan- 
aiis. brother of Aegyptus. They, 
being forced to marry the fifty 



INDEX 



sons of Aegyptus, slew their 
husbands on their wedding night, 
with the exception of Hyper- 
mnestra, H. Fur. 498 ; their 
punishment in Hades the task of 
filling a bottomless cistern with 
water carried in sieves, ibid. 757 ; 
Medea summons these to her 
aid, Med. 749 ; Deianira would 
fill the vacant place in their 
number, H. Oct. 948 ; called also 
Belides, ibid. 960. See BELIAS, 
HYPERMNESTRA 

DARDANUS, son of Jupiter and 
Electra, one of the royal house 
of Troy. Exults in Hades over 
the impending doom of Aga- 
memnon, enemy of his house, 
Agam. 773 

DAULIAN BIRD, i.e. Procne, changed 
into a nightingale after the 
tragedy connected with her 
name, enacted at Daulis, a city 
of Phocis. She mourns continu- 
ally for Itys, H. Oet. 192. See 
PHILOMELA and ITYS 

DEIANIRA (Hercules Oetaeug). 
daughter of Oeneus. king of 
Calydonia, sister of Meleager, wife 
of Hercules, mother of Hyllus, 
plays with her maidens on banks 
of Acheloiis, H. Oet. 586 ; her 
abduction by Nessus, ibid. *500 : 
her rage when she hears 01 
Hercules' Infatuation for lole, 
ibid. 237 ; ignorant of its power, 
prepares to send the charmed 
robe to Hercules, ibid. *535 ; 
gives it to Lichas, ibid. 569 ; 
discovers its power, ibid. *716 ; 
learns from Hyllus effect of 
poison on Hercules, ibid. *742 ; 
prays for death, ibid. 842 ; begs 
Hyllus to slay her, ibid. 984 ; 
goes mad, ibid. 1002 ; dies by 
her own hand, ibid. 1420 

DElDAMlA, daughter of Lycomedes. 
king of Scyros, mother of 
Pyrrhus by Achilles, Tro. 342 

DEIPHOBUS, son of Priam and 
Hecuba, husband of Helen after 
death of Paris ; slain and mangled 
by the Greeks through wife's 
treachery, Agam. 749 

DELOS, floating island in Aegean 
Sea, birthplace of Apollo and 
Diana, H. Fur 453 ; made firm 



at command of Diana, Agam. 
384 

DELPHIO ORACLEJ of Apollo at 
Delphi in Phocis ; expressed in 
enigmatic form, Oed. 214 ; the 
giving out of an oracle described, 
ibid. *225 ; H. Oet. 1475 

DEUCALION, son of Prometheus, 
husband of Pyrrha ; this pair 
the only survivors of the flood, 
Tro. 1039. See PYRRHA 

DIANA, daughter of Jupiter and 
Latona, twin sister of Apollo, H. 
Fur. 905 ; hymn to, Agam. *367 ; 
caused Delos to stand firm, ibid. 
369 ; punished Niobe for impiety, 
ibid. 375 ; conceived as Luna or 
Phoebe in heaven, Diana on 
earth, and Hecate in Hades, Hip. 
412 ; called Trivia, worshipped 
where three ways meet, Agam. 
367 ; Hippolytus prays to her as 
goddess of the chase, Hip. 54; 
her wide sway, ibid. *54 ; nurse 
of Phaedra prays that she may 
turn Hippolytus to love, ibid. 
406 ; in form of Luna, an object 
of attack by Thessalian witch- 
craft, ibid. 421 ; slighted by 
Oeneus, she sent a huge boar to 
ravage the country. Hence 
Pleuron is hostile to her, Tro. 
827 

DICTYNNA, " goddess of the nets," 
epithet of Diana, Med. 795 

DIOMEDES, king of the Bistones, in 
Thrace, who gave his captives to 
his man-eating horses to devour, 
H. Oet. 1538; Tro. 1108; Her- 
cules captured his horses, having 
given their master to them to 
devour, Agam. 842 ; H. Fur. 226, 
1170 ; H. Oet. 20; Alcmena fears 
that she may be given to these 
horses now that Hercules is dead, 
H. Oet. 1790. See HEROULBS 

DIRCE, wife of Lycus, king of 
Thebes, who, on account of her 
cruelty to Antiope, was tied by 
her sons, Zethus and Amphion, 
by the hair to a wild bull, and so 
dragged to death on Cithaeron, 
Phoen. 19 ; changed to the 
fountain Dirce, ibid. 126 ; H. Fur. 
916 ; this fountain flowed with 
blood at the time of the plague 
at Thebes, Oed. 177 

521 



INDEX 



DISCORD, a Fury, summoned by 
Juno from Hades to drive Her- 
cules to madness, H. Fur. 93 ; 
her abode, ibid. *93 

DODONA, city of Chaonia in Epirus, 
famous for ancient oracle of 
Jupiter, in a grove of oaks, which 
had the gift of speech, H. Oct. 
1473 ; when Minerva aided in 
the construction of the Argo, she 
set in its prow timber cut from 
the speaking oak of Dodona, and 
this piece had oracular power ; 
the Argo's " voice " was lost 
through fear of the Symplegades, 
Med. 349. See CHAONIAN OAKS 

DOMITIUS, father of Nero, Oct. 249 

DRAGON, (1) guardian of the apples 
of the Hesperides, slain by Her- 
cules, and afterwards set in the 
heavens as constellation Draco, 
between the two Bears, Thy. 870 ; 
Med. 694 ; (2) of Colchis, guardian 
of the golden fleece, put to 
sleep by Medea's magic, Med. 
703 ; (3) dragon sacred to Mars 
killed by Cadmus near the site 
of his destined city of Thebes. 
From the teeth of this dragon, 
sown by Cadmus, armed men 
sprang up, Oed. **725 ; H. Fur. 
260 ; some of these teeth were 
sown by Jason in Colchis with a 
similar result, Med. 469 ; the 
brothers who sprang up against 
Cadmus are described as living in 
Hades, Oed. 586 

DRUSTJS, Livius, the fate of, Oct. 
887, 942 

DRYADS, race of wood-nymphs, fl. 
Oet. 1053 ; Hip. 784 



E 



ECHO, nymph who pined away to 
a mere voice for unrequited love 
of Narcissus. She dwells in 
mountain caves, and repeats the 
last words of all that is said in 
her hearing, Tro. 109 

ELECTRA (Agamemnon), daughter 
of Agamemnon and Clytemnes- 
tra, sister of Orestes ; gives her 
brother to Strophius, king of 
Phocis, to save him from Cly- 
temnestra and Aegisthus, Agam. 

522 



910 ; defies her mother and 
Aegisthus, ibid. 953 ; is taken 
away to imprisonment, ibid. 1000 ; 
Octavia compares her woes with 
Electra's, to the advantage of the 
latter, Oct. 60 

ELEUSIN (Eleusis), ancient city of 
Attica, famous for its mysteries 
of Ceres, H. Oet. 599 ; Tro. 843 ; 
H. Fur. 300 ; Hip. 838 ; the 
mysteries described, H. Fur. 
*842. See CERES, TRIPTOLEMUS 

ELYSIUM, abode of the blest, Tro. 
159, 944; H. Oet. 956, 1916; 
H. Fur. 744 

ENCELADUS, one of the Titans who 
attempted to dethrone Jove, 
overthrown and buried under 
Sicily, H. Fur. 79 ; H. Oet. 1140, 
1145, 1159, 1735 

ERIDANUS, mythical and poetical 
name of the Po, H. Oet. 186. 
See PHAETHONTIADES 

ERINYES, the Furies, H. Fur. 982 ; 
Med. 952 ; Oed. 590 ; Agam. 83 ; 
Thy. 251 ; H. Oet. 609, 671 ; Oct. 
23, 161, 263, 619, 913. See 
FURIES 

ERYX, son of Butes and Venus, 
famous boxer, overcome by Her- 
cules, H. Fur. 481 ; mountain in 
Sicily, said to have been named 
from the preceding, Oed. 600 

ETEOCLES (Phoenissae), one of 
the two sons of Oedipus and 
Jocasta. After Oedipus aban- 
doned the throne of Thebes 
(Phoen. 104), Eteocles and Poly- 
nices agreed to reign alternately. 
Eteocles, the elder, ascended the 
throne, but when his year was up 
refused to give way to his 
brother, Phoen. 55,280, 389; H. 
Fur. 389. See POLYNICES 

EUMENIDES (" the gracious ones "), 
a euphemistic name for the 
Furies, H. Fur. 87 ; H. Oet. 1002 

EUROPA, daughter of Agenor, king 
of Tyre, beloved of Jupiter, who, 
as a bull, carried her away to 
Crete, Oct. 206, 766 ; H. pet. 
550 ; this episode immortalised 
by the constellation of Taurus, 
H. Fur. 9 ; sought in vain by her 
brother Cadmus, Oed. 715 ; the 
continent of Europe named after 
her, Agam. 205, 274 ; Tro. 896 



INDEX 



EUEYBATES (Agavufmnon), mes- 
senger of Agamemnon who an- 
nounces victory of Greeks at 
Troy and the hero's near approach 
to Mycenae, Agam. 392 ; relates 
the sufferings of the Greek fleet 
on the homeward voyage, ibid. 
*421 

EURYDICE, wife of Orpheus, slain 
by a serpent's sting on her wed- 
ding day ; story of Orpheus' 
quest for her in Hades, H. Fur. 
*569 ; rescued by Orpheus from 
the lower world, but lost again, 
H. Oet. *1084. See ORPHEUS 

EURYSTHEUS, son of Sthenelus, 
grandson of Perseus, who, by 
a trick of Juno, was given power 
over Hercules, and, at Juno's 
instance, laid upon Hercules his 
various labours, II. Oet. 403 ; 
H. Fur. 43, 78, 479, 526, 830 ; lord 
of Argos and Mycenae, ibid. 
1180; H. Oet. 1800: his punish- 
ment predicted, ibid. 1973 

EURYTUS, king of Oechalia and 
father of lole, H. Oet. 1490 ; he 
and his house destroyed by 
Hercules because he refused the 
latter's suit for lole, ibid 100, 
207, 221 ; E. Fur. 477. See 
HERCULES 



FESOENNINE, of Fescennla, ancient 
town of Etruria, famous for a 
species of coarse dialogues in 
verse which bear its name, Med. 
113 

FORTUNE, goddess of fate, ruling 
over affairs of men, H. Fur. 326, 
524; Tro. *1, *259, 269, 697, 
735 ; Phoen. 82, 308, 452 ; Med. 
159, 176, 287; Hip. 979, 1124, 
1143 ; Oed. 11, 86, 674, 786, 825, 
934 ; Agam. 28, 58, 72, 89, 101, 
248, 594, 698 ; H. Oet. 697 ; Oct. 
36, 377, 479, 563, 888, 898, 931, 
962 ; Thy. 618 

FURIES, avenging goddesses, dwell- 
ing in Hades, set to punish and 
torment men both on earth and 
in the lower world ; described and 
appealed to, Med. 13 ; Juno 
plots to summon them from 



Hacks to make Hercules mad, 
H. Fur. 86 ; described, ibid. 87 ; 
described by Cassandra, Agam. 
*759 ; move in bands, Thy. 78, 
250 ; Med. 958 ; a Fury used a? 
a character in prologue, driving 
on Thyestes' ghost to perform 
his mission, Thy. *23. See 
EUMENIDES, ERINYES, MEQAERA, 
TISIPHONE 



GEMINI, zodiacal constellation of 
the Twins, Castor and Pollux, 
Thy. 853 

GERYON, mythical king In Spain, 
having three bodies ; Hercules 
slew him and brought his famous 
cattle to Eurystheus as his tenth 
labour, H. Fur. 231, 487, 1170; 
Agam. 837 ; H. Oet. 26, 1204, 
1900. See HERCULES 

GHOSTS. The ghost appears as a 
dramatis persona in the following 
plays: Agamemnon, in which the 
ghost of Thyestes appears in the 
prologue to urge Aegisthus on to 
fulfil his mission; Thyestes, in 
which the ghost of Tantalus simi- 
larly appears in the prologue ; 
Octavia, in which the ghost of 
Agrippina appears. In the fol- 
lowing plays the ghost affects the 
action though not actually ap- 
pearing upon the stage : Troades, 
in which the ghost of Achilles is 
reported to have appeared to the 
Greeks and demanded the sacri- 
fice of Polyxena, 168 ff.; Andro- 
mache also claims to have seen 
the ghost of Hector warning her 
of the impending fate of Astyanax, 
443 ff.; Oedipus, in which the 
ghost of Lalus and other departed 
spirits are described as set free by 
the necromancy of Tiresias, 582 
ff.; Medea, in which the mangled 
ghost of Absyrtus seems to appear 
to the distracted Medea, 963 ; 
ghosts appear larger than mortu-1 
forms, Oed. 175 

GIANTS, monstrous sons of Earth, 
made war upon the gods, scaling 
heaven by piling mountains one 
on another, Tro. 829 ; Thy. 804, 

523 



INDEX 



810, 1084; H. Fur. 445, 976; 
H. Oet. 1139, *1151 ; over- 
thrown by Jove's thunderbolt, 
H. Oet. 1302 ; Oed. 91 ; with 
the help of Hercules, H. Oet. 
1215 ; buried under Sicily, ibid. 
1309. See BRIAREUS, ENCELA- 
DUS. GYAS, MIMAS, OTHRYS, TY- 
PHOEUS, TITANS 

GOLDEN AGE, first age of mankind, 
when peace and innocence reigned 
on earth, Hip. *525 ; Oct. *395 ; 
Med. *329 

GOLDEN-FLEECED RAM, (l) on 
which Phrixus and his sister, 
Helle, escaped from Boeotia ; as 
they fled through the air Helle 
fell off into the sea, Tro. 1035 ; 
on arrival at Colchis Phrixus 
sacrificed the ram and gave his 
fleece to King Aeetes, who hung 
it in a tree sacred to Mars. This 
fleece the prize sought by the 
Argonauts, Med. 361, 471. See 
PHRIXUS, HELLE, ARGONAUTS. 
(2) The emblem and pledge of 
sovereignty in the house of 
Pelops, Thy. *225 

GORGON, Medusa, one of the three 
daughters of Phorcys. whose 
head was covered with snaky 
locks ; the sight of her turned 
men to stone. Killed by Perseus, 
her head presented to Minerva, 
who fixed it upon her shield, E. 
Oet. 96 ; Agam. 530. See PER- 
SEUS 

GRACCHI, two popular leaders of 
the Sempronian gens, brought to 
ruin by popular renown, Oct. 
882 

GRADIVUS, surname of Mars, H. 
Fur. 1342 

GYAS, one of the giants who sought 
to dethrone Jove, E. Oet. 167, 
1139 



HADES, place of departed spirits, 
situated in the underworld ; 
entrance to, E. Fur. 662 ; 
description of, ibid. 547 ; Theseus, 
returned therefrom, describes 
places and persons there, ibid. 
**658 ; the world of the dead 

524 



and the throngs who pour into it. 
ibid. *830 ; its torments and 
personages described by ghost 
of Tantalus, Thy. 1 ; its regions 
and inhabitants seen by Creon 
through the chasm in the earth 
made by Tiresias' incantations. 
Oed *582 

HARPIES, mythical monsters, half 
woman and half bird : driven 
from Phineus by Zetes and 
Calais, Med. 782 ; still torment 
Phineus in Hades, H. Fur. 759 ; 
used as type of winged speed, 
Phoen. 424 

HEBE, daughter of Juno, cupbearer 
to the gods, given as bride to 
Hercules, Oct. 211 

HECATE, daughter of Perses, pre- 
sider over enchantments ; identi- 
fied with Proserpina as the 
underworld manifestation of the 
deity seen in Diana on earth and 
Luna in heaven, E. Oet. 1519 ; 
Med. 6, 577, 833, 841 ; Tro. 389 ; 
Eip. 412 ; Oed. 569 

HECTOR, son of Priam and Hecuba, 
husband of Andromache, bravest 
warrior and chief support of 
Troy, Tro. 125 ; burns Greek 
fleet, ibid. 444 ; Agam. 743 ; 
slays Patroclus, Tro. 446 ; slain 
by Achilles and his body dragged 
around the walls, ibid. *413 ; 
Agam. 743 ; his body ransomed 
by Priam, ibid. 447 ; lamented by 
the captive Trojan women, Tro. 
98 ; his ghost warns Andromache 
in a dream of the danger of their 
son Astyanax, ibid. 443 

HECUBA (Troades), wife of Priam, 
survives Troy ; leads the captive 
women in lament for Troy's 
downfall, Tro. *1 ; before the 
birth of Paris, dreamed that she 
had given birth to a firebrand, 
ibid. 36 ; her once happy estate 
described, and contrasted with 
her present wretchedness, ibid. 
*958 ; given to Ulysses by lot, 
ibid. 980 ; having suffered the loss 
of all her loved ones, she is at 
last changed into a dog, Agam. 
*705 ; rejoices for the first time 
after Hector's death on occasion 
of wooden horse being taken into 
Troy, ibid. 648 



INDEX 



HELEN (Troades), daughter of 
Jupiter and Leda, sister of 
Clytemnestra, wife of Menelaiis, 
the most beautiful woman in 
Greece ; given by Venus to Paris 
as a reward for his judgment in 
her favour, Oct. 773 ; fled from 
her husband for love of Paris, 
Agam. 123 ; pardoned by Aga- 
memnon, she returns home with 
Menelaiis, ibid. 273 ; sent by 
Greeks to deceive Polyxena and 
prepare her for sacrifice on 
Achilles' tomb, Tro. 861 ; cursed 
by Andromache, ibid. *892 ; 
bewails her own lot. ibid. 905 ; 
she is not to blame for the woes 
of Troy, ibid. 917 ; Clytemnestra 
likened to her, Agam'. 795 

HELLE, sister of Phrixus, who fled 
with him on the golden-fleeced 
ram, and fell off into the sea, 
which thereafter bore her name 
(Hellespont), Tro. 1034 ; Thy. 
851. See PHRIXUS 

HERCEAN JOVE, epithet of Jupiter 
as protector of the house ; at his 
altar Priam was slain, Tro. 140 ; 
Agam. 448, 793 

HERCULES (Hercules Furens, Her- 
cules Oetaeus), son of Jupiter and 
Alcmena, H. Fur. 20 ; H. Oet. 
7 and passim : night unnaturally 
prolonged at his conception, 
Agam. 814; H. Fur. 24, 1158; 
H. Oet. 147, 1500, 1697, 1864; 
born in Thebes, Oed. 749 ; in 
infancy strangled two serpents 
which Juno sent against him, H. 
Fur. *214 ; H. Oet. 1205 ; by a 
trick of Juno was made subject 
to Eurystheus, who set him vari- 
ous labours, H. Oet. 403 ; H. Fur. 
78, 524, *830. These twelve 
labours are as follows : (1) 
Killing of Nemean lion, H. Fur. 
46, 224; H. Oet. 16, 411, 1192, 
1235, 1885 ; Agam. 829 ; (2) 
destruction of Lernean hydra, 
Agam. 835; Med. 701 ; H. Fur. 
46, 241, 529, 780, 1195; H. Oet. 
19, 918, 1193, 1534, 1813 ; (3) 
capture of Arcadian stag, famous 
for its fleetness and its golden 
antlers, H. Fur. 222 ; H. Oet. 
17, 1238 ; Agam. 831 ; (4) capture 
of wild boar of Erymanthus, H. 



Fur. 228 ; H. Oet. 980, 1536, 
1888 ; Agam. 832 ; (5) cleansing 
of Augean stables, H. Fur. 247 ; 
(6) killing of Stymphalian birds, 
H. Fur. 244 ; H. Oet. 17, 1237, 
1813, 1889 ; Agam. 850 ; (7) 
capture of Cretan bull, H. Fur. 
230 ; H. Oet. 27 ; Agam. 834 ; (8) 
capturing mares of Diomedes and 
slaying of Diomedes, H. Fur. 
226 ; H. Oet. 20, 1538, 1814, 1894 ; 
Agam. 842 ; (9) securing girdle 
of Hippolyte, H. Fur. 245, 542 ; 
H. Oet. 21, 1183, 1450 ; Agam. 
848 ; (10) killing Geryon and 
capturing his oxen, H. Fur. 231, 
487 ; H. Oet. 26, 1204, 1900 ; 
Agam. 837 ; (11) securing golden 
apples of Hesperides, H. Fur 
239, 530 ; H. Oet. 18 ; Phoen. 316 ; 
Agam. *852 ; (12) descent to 
Hades and bringing back Cerbe- 
rus, H. Fur. *46, **760 ; H. Oet. 
23, 1162, 1244 ; Agam. 859. 
Other deeds of Hercules are : bore 
the heavens upon his shoulders 
in place of Atlas, H. Fur *69, 
528, 1101; H. Oet. 282, 1241, 
1764, 1905 ; burst a passage for 
Peneus between Ossa and Olym- 
pus, H. Fur. *283 ; rent Calpe 
and Abyla (the " Pillars of 
Hercules ") apart and made a 
passage for the sea into the 
ocean, H. Fur. 237 ; H. Oet. 1240, 
1253, 1569 ; overcame Centaurs, 
ibid. 1195 ; fought with Acheloiis 
for possession of Deianira, ibid. 
299, 495 ; slew Nessus, who was 
carrying off his bride, ibid. *500, 
921 ; overcame Eryx the boxer, 
H. Fur. 481 ; slew Antaeus, H. 
Fur. 482, 1171 ; H. Oet. 24, 1899 ; 
killed Busiris, H. Fur. 483 ; H. 
Oet. 26 ; Tro. 1106 ; slew Cycnus, 
son of Mars, H. Fur. 485 ; killed 
Zetes and Calais, Med. 634; 
killed Periclymenus, ibid. 635; 
wounded Pluto, who was going 
to aid the Pylians, H. Fur. 560 ; 
fought with Death for the reco- 
very of Alcestis, H. Oet. 766 n. ; 
wrecked off the African coast, 
made his way on foot to shore, 
ibid. 319 ; assisted the gods in 
their fight against the giants, 
ibid. 444 ; H. Oet. 170 ; captured 

525 



INDEX 



Troy with aid of Telamon during 
reign of Laomedqn, Tro. 136, 
719 ; his arrows said to be twice 
fated for the destruction of 
Troy, ibid. 825 ; Agam. 863 ; 
forced Charon to bear him across 
the Lethe (not Styx), H. Fur. 
*762 ; H. Oet. 1556 ; rescued 
Theseus from Hades, Hip. 843 ; 
H. Fur. 806 ; E. Oet. 1197, 1768 ; 
overcame Eurytus, king of Oecha- 
lia, H. Fur. 477 ; H. Oet. 422. 
More or less extended recapitula- 
tions of the deeds of Hercules are 
found in the following passages : 
Agam. 808-866 ; H. Fur. 205-308, 
481-487, 524-560 ; H. Oet. 1-98, 
410-435, 1161-1206, 1218-1257, 
1518-1606,1810-1830, 1872-1939. 
The loves of Hercules are as 
follows : Hesione, daughter of 
Laomedon, rescued from the 
sea-monster, and made captive 
to Hercules with the first fall 
of Troy ; he afterward* gave her 
to Te'amon, H. Oet. 363 ; Auge, 
daughter of Aleus, king of Tegea. 
ibid. 367 ; the fifty daughters of 
Thespius, ibid. 369 ; Omphale, 
queen of Lydia, to whom Her- 
cules, in expiation of an act of 
sacrilege, went into voluntary 
servitude for three years, ibid. 
*371, 573 ; H. Fur. *465 ; Hip. 
317 ; lole, daughter of Eurytus, 
king of Oechalia, whom Hercules 
destroyed because lole was 
denied to him, H. Oet. 100, 207, 
221 ; H. Fur. 477. His wives 
were (1) Megara, daughter of 
Creon, king of Thebes ; Hercules, 
in a fit of madness, slew her and 
his children by her, H. Fur. 
*987, *1010; H. Oet. 429, 903; 
when his sanity returned, The- 
seus promised him cleansing for 
his crime by Mars at Athens, 
H. Fur. 1341 ; elsewhere said to 
have been cleansed by washing 
in the Cinyps, a river in Africa, 
H. Oet. 907; (2) Deianira, 
daughter of Oeneus, king of 
Calydonia. See DEIA.NIRA and 
ACHELOPS. The favourite tree 
of Hercules was the poplar, H. 
Fur. 894, 912; H. Oet. 1641. 
Hercules destined to come to ft 



526 



tragic end after a life of great 
deeds. Med. 637 ; death in 
accordance with an oracle which 
declared that he should die by 
the hand of one whom he had 
slain, H. Oet. 1473 ; Deianira, 
ignorantly seeking to regain her 
husband's love from lole, sends 
him a robe anointed with the 
poisoned blood of Nessus, ibid. 
535 ; Lichas bears the robe to 
his master, ibid. 569 ; Hercules 
was worshipping Cenaean Jove 
in Euboea when the robe was 
brought to him, ibid. 775 ; his 
sufferings caused by the poison. 
ibid. *749, 1218 ; hurls Lichas 
over a cliff, ibid. 809 ; after dire 
suffering, is borne by boat from 
Euboea to Mt. Oeta, where he 
was to perish, ibid. 839 ; funeral 
pyre built for him on Oeta, ibid. 
1483 ; his place in heaven after 
death, ibid. 1565 ; his triumphant 
death in the midst of the flames, 
ibid. **1610, 1726 ; his fated bow 
is given to Philoctetes, ibid. 
1648 ; his ashes are collected by 
his mother, Alcmena, ibid. 1758 ; 
Medea possessed some of the 
ashes of Oeta's pyre soaked with 
his blood, Med. Ill ; his voice is 
heard from heaven. H. Oet. * 1940 ; 
received into heaven in spite of 
Juno's opposition, he is given 
Hebe as his wife, Oct. 210 

HERMIONE, daughter of Menelatis 
and Helen, Tro. 1134 

HESIONE, daughter of Laomedon, 
exposed to a sea-monster sent by 
Neptune to punish the perfidy 
of Laomedon. Rescued by Her- 
cules when he and Telamon took 
Troy, H. Oet. 363 

HESPERIDES, golden apples of, on 
far western islands, watched over 
by three nymphs, guarded by 
dragon ; Hercules in eleventh 
labour secured them for Eurys- 
theus, Agam. 852 ; Phoen. 316 ; 
H. Fur. 239, 530 

HESPERUS, evening star, messenger 
of night, Med. 878 ; Hip. 750 ; 
H. Fur. 883 ; impatiently awaited 
by lovers, Med. 72 ; Phoen. 87 ; 
functions of evening and morning 
Btars interchanged at the concep- 



INDEX 



tion of Hercules, H Fur. 821 ; 
H. Oet. 149 

HlEROSCOPiA (extispicium), method 
of prophesying by inspecting 
viscera of sacrificial victim, 
practised by Tiresias, Oed. *353 

HIPPODAMIA, daughter of Oeno- 
maiis, king of Pisa. See MYRTILUS 

HIPPOLYTB, queen of Amazons, 
possessed of belt of Mars ; 
Hercules as his ninth labour 
secured this belt, Aqam. 848 ; 
H. Fur. 245, 542; H. Oet. 21, 
1183, 1450 

HIPPOLYTUS (Hippolytus), son of 
Theseus and Hippolyte, or, 
according to others, of Theseus 
and Antiope ; devoted to the 
hunt and to Diana, Hip. 1 ; 
object of Phaedra's guilty 19 ve, 
ibid. *99 ; hates all womankind, 
ibid. 230 ; his life as a recluse, 
ibid. 435 ; sings the praises of 
life in woods and fields, ibid. 
*483 ; is charged with assaulting 
Phaedra, ibid. 725 ; death caused 
by a monster sent by Neptune in 
response to prayer of Theseus, 
ibid. 1000 ; his innocence dis- 
covered, ibid. 1191 

HYADES, daughters of Atlas and 
sisters of the Pleiades ; a con- 
stellation borne on horns of 
Taurus, Thy. 852 ; storm-bringing 
constellation, not yet recognised 
as such in the golden age, Med. 
311 ; disturbed by magic power 
of Medea, ibid. 769 

HYDRA, monster which infested the 
marsh of Lerna ; had nine heads, 
one of which was immortal. 
Slain by Hercules as his second 
labour, Agam. 835 ; Med. 701 ; 
H. Fur. 46, 241, 529, 780, 1195 ; 
H. Oet. 19, 94, 259, 851, 914, 918, 
1193, 1534, 1650, 1813, 1927 

HYLAS, youth, beloved by Her- 
cules, accompanied him on Ar- 
gonautic expedition ; was seized 
by water-nymphs, Hip. 780 ; 
Med. *647 

HYLLUS (Hercules Oetaeus), son of 
Hercules and Deianira, H. Oet. 
742 : the grandson of Jove, ibid. 
1421 ; lole consigned to him as 
wife by the dying Hercules, ibid. 
1490 



HYMEN, god of marriage, Tro. 861, 
805 ; Med. *66. 110, 116, 300 

HYPERMNESTRA, one of the fifty 
daughters of Danaiis, who refused 
to murder her husband, H. Fur. 
500 ; not punished with her 
sisters in Hades, H. Oet. 948. 
See DANAIDES 



ICARUS, son of Daedalus ; the wings 
on which he attempted flight 
were melted by the sun ; fell into 
the sea, which received his name, 
Agam, 506 ; Oed. *892 ; H. Oet. 
686. See DAEDALUS 

IDMON, son of Apollo and Asteria. 
Argonaut, had prophetic power ; 
was killed by a wild boar, not, as 
Seneca says, by a serpent, Med. 
652 

INO, daughter of Cadmus, sister of 
Semele, wife of Athamas, king of 
Thebes. Athamas, driven mad 
by Juno, because luo had nursed 
the infant Bacchus, attempted to 
slay her ; she escaped by leaping 
into the sea with her son Meli- 
certa. Both changed into sea- 
divinities, Phoen. 22 ; Oed. 445 
See PALAEMON 

IOLE (Hercules Oetaeus), daughter 
of Eurytus, king of Oechalia. 
Was sought in marriage by 
Hercules, who, when refused, 
destroyed her father and all his 
house, H. Oet. 221 ; in captivity 
she mourns her fate, ibid. 173 ; 
sent as captive to Deianira, ibid. 
224 ; her reception by Deiauira, 
ibid. 237 ; is given to Hyllus as 
wife by the dying Hercules, ibid. 
1490 

iPHiGENlA, daughter of Agamem- 
non and Clytemnestra ; taken to 
be sacrificed at Aulis, on pretext 
of marriage to Achilles, Agam. 
158 ; sacrificed that Greeks might 
sail from Aulis, ibid. 160 ; Tro. 
249, 360, 555 n., 570 n. ; her 
sacrifice described, Agam. *164 ; 
rescued by Diana and taken to 
serve in goddess' temple among 
the Taurians, Oct. 972 

527 



INDEX 



IRIS, messenger of Juno, goddess 
of the rainbow, Oed. 315 

ITYS, son of Tereus, king of Thrace, 
and Procne, who, to punish her 
husband for his outrage upon 
her sister, Philomela, slew and 
served Itys at a banquet to his 
father. The sisters, changed to 
birds, ever bewail Itys, H. Oet. 
192 ; Agam. 670 

IxION, for his insult to Juno 
whirled on a wheel in Hades, 
Hip. 1236 : Thy. 8 ; Agam. 15 ; 
Oct. 623 ; H. Fur. 750 ; H. Oet. 
945, 1011: Med. 744; his wheel 
stood still at music of Orpheus, 
ibid. 1068. See NEPHELE 



JASON (Medea), son of Aeson, king 
of Thessaly, nephew of the 
usurping king, Pelias. Was 
persuaded by Pelias to undertake 
the adventure of the Golden 
Fleece, for which he organised 
and led the Argonautic expedi- 
tion. Through Medea's aid per- 
formed the tasks in Colchis set 
by Aeetes : tamed the fire-breath- 
ing bull, Med. 121, 241, 466; 
overcame the giants sprung from 
the serpent's teeth, ibid. 467 ; 
put to sleep the dragon, ibid. 
471. Had no part in murder of 
Pelias, for which he and Medea 
were driven out of Thessaly, ibid. 
262 ; but this and all Medea's 
crimes had been done for his 
sake, ibid. *275 ; living in exile 
in Corinth, is forced by Creon 
into marriage with the king's 
daughter, Creiisa, ibid. 137 ; 
Medea curses him, ibid. 19 ; he 
laments the dilemma in which he 
finds himself, ibid. 431 ; decides 
to yield to Crepn's demands for 
the sake of his children, ibid. 
441 

JOCASTA (Oedipus, Phoenissae), 
wife of Lalus, king of Thebes, 
mother and afterwards wife of 
Oedipus ; on learning that Oedi- 
pus is her son, kills herself, Oed. 
1024. According to another 
version, she is still living after 

528 



Oedipus goes Into exile ; bewail? 
the strife between her sons, 
Eteocles and Polynices, Phoen. 
377 ; rushing between the two 
hosts, tries to reconcile her sons, 
ibid. *443 

JUDGES IN HADES, Aeacus, Minos, 
and Rhadamanthus. weep when 
they hear Orpheus strains, H. 
Fur. 579 ; Theseus describes 
then- persons and judgments, the 
moral law under which the souls 
of men are judged, the punish- 
ments and rewards meted out, 
ibid. **727 

JULIA, daughter of Drusus and 
Livia Drusilla, exiled and after- 
wards slain, Oct. 944 

JUNO (Hercules Furens), reveals 
her motive hi persecuting Her- 
cules ; recounts Jove's infidelities 
and relates her struggles with 
Hercules ; she cannot overcome 
him by any toil, H. Fur. *1 ff. ; 
type of wife who, by wise manage- 
ment, won back her husband's 
love, Oct. *201 ; hymn in praise 
of, Agam. 340 ; Argos is dear to 
her, ibid. 809 

JUPITER, lord of Olympus, ruler of 
the skies and seasons, Hip. *960 ; 
ruler of heaven and earth, to 
whom victors consecrate their 
spoils, Agam. *802 ; his mother, 
Rhea, brought him forth in Crete 
and hid him in a cave of Ida, lest 
his father, Saturn, should dis- 
cover and destroy him, H. Fur. 
459; hymn in praise of, Agam 
381 ; his thunderbolts forged in 
Aetna, Hip. 156 ; his amours 
with mortals : with Leda, to 
whom he appeared as a swan, 
Hip. 301 ; H. Fur. 14 ; with 
Europa, as a bull, Hip. 303 ; 
H. Fur. 9; H. Oet. 550; with 
Danae, as a golden shower, H. 
Fur. 1 3 ; with Callisto, ibid. 6 ; 
with the Pleiades (Electra, Maia, 
Taygete), ibid. 10 ; with Latona, 
ifctrf. 15 ; with Semele, ibid. 16 ; 
with Alcmena, ibid. 22. For his 
ancient oracle in Epirus, see 
DODONA ; see also HERCEAN 
JOVE and CENAETJM 

JUSTICE (JustUia), the goddess 
Astraea, who once lived on earth 



INDEX 



during the innocence of man in 
the golden age of Saturn, Oct. 
398 ; fled the earth when sin 
became dominant, ibid. 424. 
See ASTRAEA 



LABDACIDAE, Thebans, from Lab- 
dacus, king of Thebes, father of 
Lalus, Oed. 710 ; Phoen. 53 ; 
H. Fur. 495 

LAOHESIS, one of the three fates, 
or Parcae, who measured out the 
thread of human life, Oed. 985. 
The other two were Clotho and 
Atropos. See CLOTHO 

LAERTES, father of Ulysses, dwell- 
ing in Ithaca, Tro. 700 ; Thy. 
587 

LAltus, king of Thebes, husband of 
Jocasta, father of Oedipus, whom, 
fearing an oracle, he had exposed 
in infancy ; his murder by an 
unknown man must be avenged 
before the plague afflicting Thebes 
can be relieved, Oed. *217 ; place 
and supposed manner of his 
death, ibid. *276, 776 ; his shade, 
raised by Tiresias, declares that 
Oedipus is his murderer, ibid. 
*619 ; his shade seems to appear 
to the blind Oedipus in exile, 
Phoen. 39 

LAOMEDON, king of Troy, father of 
Priam ; deceived Apollo and 
Neptune, who built the walls of 
Troy, and again cheated Her- 
cules out of his promised reward 
for delivering Hesione ; hence 
his house is called a " lying 
house," Agam. 864 

LAPITHAE, tribe of Thessaly, asso- 
ciated in story with the Centaurs, 
and both with a struggle against 
Hercules in which they were 
worsted ; hi Hades still fear their 
great enemy when he appears, 
H. Fur. 779 

LATONA, beloved of Jupiter, to 
whom she bore Apollo and 
Diana, Agam. 324 ; the floating 
island, Delos, the only spot 
allowed her by jealous Juno for 
her travail, H. Fur. 15 



LEDA, wife of Tyndareus, king of 
Sparta ; was beloved by Jupiter 
in the form of a swan, Oct. 205. 
764 ; became by him mother of 
Castor and Pollux, H. Fur. 14 ; 
Oct. 208 ; mother of Clytemnes- 
tra by Tyndareus, Agam. 125, 
234 

LEMNOS, island in the Aegean, 
where Vulcan fell and established 
his forges, H. Get. 1362 ; all 
the Lemnian women, except 
Hypsipyle, murdered their male 
relatives, Agam. 566 

LEO, zodiacal constellation of the 
Lion, representing the Nemean 
lion slain by Hercules, H. Fur. 
69, 945 ; Thy. 855 ; said to have 
fallen from the moon, where, 
according to the Pythagoreans, 
all monsters had their origin, H. 
Fur. 83 

LETHE, river of the lower world 
whose waters cause those who 
drink to forget the past, H. Oet. 
936 ; H. Fur. 680 ; flip. 1202 ; 
is used as equivalent to Styx or 
the lower world hi general, ibid. 
147 ; Oed. 560 ; E. Oet. 1162, 
1208, 1550, 1985 ; Charon plies 
his boat over this river, H. Fur. 
777 

LIBRA, zodiacal constellation of the 
Scales, marking the autumnal 
equinox, Hip. 839 ; Thy. 858 

LICHAS, messenger of Hercules to 
Deianira, H. Oet. 99 ; bearer of 
the poisoned robe from Deianira, 
thrown over a cliff by Hercules, 
ibid. 567, 570, 809, 814, 978, 
1460 

LIVIA, wife of Drusus ; her fate, 
Oct. 942 

LOVES, "Epoj? (Cupid) and 'AiTt'pu>?, 
twin sons of Venus, Hip. 275 

LUCIFER, morning star, the herald 
of the sun, Hip. 752 ; Oed. 507, 
741 ; H. Oet. 149 

LUOINA, goddess who presides over 
child-birth, i.e. Diana or Luna, 
Agam. 385 ; Med. 2 ; or Juno, 
ibid. 61 

LUCRETIA, daughter of Lucretius, 
wife of Collatinus, avenged by a 
bloody war for the outrage 
committed upon her by Sextus 
Tarquinius, Oct. 300 

529 



INDEX 



LUNA, goddess of the moon, iden- 
tified with Diana upon the earth, 
called also Phoebe as sister of 
Phoebus, Oed. 44 ; reflects her 
brother's fires, ibid. 253 ; passes 
his car in shorter course, Thy. 
838 ; in love with Endymion, she 
seeks the earth, Hip. 309, 422, 
785 ; gives her chariot to her 
brother to drive, ibid. 310 ; saved 
by the clashing of vessels from 
the influence of magic, ibid. 
790 

LYCURGUS, king of Thrace ; des- 
troyed for his opposition to 
Bacchus, H. Fur. 903; Oed. 471 

LYCUS (Hercules Furens), usurper 
in Thebes while Hercules is 
absent in Hades ; slew Creon and 
his sons, H. Fur. 270 ; boasts of 
his power and wealth, ibid. 332 ; 
desires union with Megara, wife 
of the absent Hercules, daughter 
of Creon, ibid. 345 ; proposes 
marriage to Megara, ibid. 360 ; 
scorned by her, ibid. 372 ; slain 
by Hercules, ibid. 895 

LYNCEUS, one of the Argonauts, 
renowned for his keenness of 
vision, Med. 232 



M 



MAEANDER, river of Phrygia, cele- 
brated for its winding course, 
Phoen. 606; H. Fur. 684 

MAENADS, female attendants and 
worshippers of Bacchus, Oed. 
436 ; mad under inspiration of 
Bacchus, H. Oet. 243 ; uncon- 
sciousness of pain, Tro. 674 ; 
range over the mountains, Med. 
383 

MAGIO ARTS, as practised by 
Medea, Med. 670-842 ; by Tire- 
sias, Oed. 548-625 ; by the nurse 
of Deianira, H. Oet. 452-64 

MANTO (Oedipus), prophetic daugh- 
ter of Tiresias, Agam. 22 ; leads 
her blind father, Oed. 290 ; 
describes to him the sacrifices, 
which he interprets, ibid. 303 

MARS, son of Jupiter and Juno, god 
of war, Tro. 185, 783, 1058; 
Phoen. 527, 626, 630 ; Med. 62 ; 

530 



Hip. 465. 808 ; Oct. 293 ; Agam. 
548 ; called also Mavors, Hip. 
550 ; Thy. 557 ; Oed. 90; and Gra- 
divus, H. Fur. 1342 ; used of war 
or battle, Oed. 275, 646; Agam. 
921 ; his amour with Venus 
discovered by Phoebus, who with 
the aid of Vulcan caught them in 
a net : for this reason Venus hates 
the race of Phoebus, Hip. 125; 
summoned to judgment by Nep- 
tune for the murder of bis son, 
was tried and acquitted by the 
twelve gods at Athens on the 
Areopagus. H. Fur. 1342 

MEDEA (Medea), daughter of 
Aeetes, king of Colchis, grand- 
daughter of Sol and Persels, Med. 
28, 210 ; grandeur of her estate 
in Aeetes' kingdom, ibid. *209, 
483 ; mistress of magic arts, ibid. 
*750, whereby she helped Jason 
perform the tasks set by Aeetes, 
ibid. 169, 467, 471 ; helped Jason 
carry off the golden fleece, ibid. 
130 ; did all for love of Jason, 
ibid. 119 ; slew her brother, 
Absyrtus, and strewed his mem- 
bers to retard Aeetes' pursuit, 
ibid. 121 ; H. Oet. 950 ; tricked 
the daughters of Pelias into 
murdering their father, Med. 133, 
201, *258 ; driven out of Thessaly 
and pursued by Acastus, she, 
with Jason, sought safety in 
Corinth, ibid. 247, 257 ; all her 
crimes were for Jason's sake, ibid. 
275 ; exiled by Creon, she obtains 
one day of respite, ibid. 295 ; 
prepares a deadly robe for her 
rival, Creusa, ibid. 570 ; her 
magic incantations, ibid. *675 ; 
sends robe to Creusa, ibid. 816 ; 
rejoices in its terrible effect, ibid. 
893 ; kills her two sons, ibid. 
970, 1019 ; gloats over her hus- 
band's misery and vanishes hi the 
air in a chariot drawn by dragons, 
ibid. 1025 ; goes to Athens and 
marries Aegeus ; type of an evil 
woman, Hip. 563 ; stepmother of 
Theseus, ibid. 697 

MEDUSA, one of the three Gorgons, 
slain by Perseus. He cut off her 
head, which had power to petrify 
whatever looked upon it, and gave 
it to Minerva, who set it upon her 



INDEX 



aegis, Agam. 530 ; her gall used 
by Medea in magic, Med. 831 

MEGAERA, one of the Furies, sum- 
moned by Juno to drive Hercules 
to madness, H. Fur. 102 ; appears 
to the maddened Medea with 
scourge of serpents, Med. 960 ; 
seems to appear to the distracted 
Deianira, U. Oet. 1006, 1014 ; 
summoned by Atreus to assist 
him in his revenge upon his 
brother, Thy. 252. See FURIES 

MEGARA (Hercules Furens), daugh- 
ter of Creon, king of Thebes, 
wife of Hercules, H. Fur. 202 ; 
laments her husband's constant 
absence from home, ibid. *205 ; 
scorns the advances of Lycus, 
ibid. *372 ; slain by her husband 
in a nt of madness brought on 
by Juno, ibid. 1010 ; H. Oet. 429, 
903, 1452 

MELEAGER, son of Oeneus, king of 
Calydon, and Althaea ; his tragic 
death caused by his mother's 
wrath because he had killed her 
brothers, Med. 644, 779. See 
ALTHAEA 

MELICERTA, see INO 

MEMNON, son of Aurora, slain by 
Achilles, Tro. 10, 239 ; Agam. 
212 

MENELIUS, son of Atreus, brother 
of Agamemnon, husband of Helen, 
king of Sparta, employed by his 
father to trick his uncle, Thyestes, 
Thy. 327 ; Helen looks forward 
with fear to his judgment, Tro. 
923 ; pardoned Helen for her 
desertion of him, Agam. 273 

MEROPE, wife of Polybus, king of 
Corinth ; adopted Oedipus and 
reared him to manhood as her 
own child, Oed. 272, 661, 802 

MESSALINA, wife of Claudius, 
mother of Octavia, Oct. 10 ; 
cursed by Venus with insatiate 
lust, ibid. 258 ; openly married 
Silius in the absence of Claudius, 
ibid. *26p ; slain for this by order 
of Claudius, ibid. 265 ; her death, 
ibid. *974 

MIMAS, one of the giants, H. Fur. 
981. See GIANTS 

MINOS, son of Jupiter, king of 
Crete ; father of Phaedra, Uip 
1 49 ; father of Ariadne, ibid. 245 ; 



powerful monarch, ibid. 149 ; no 
daughter of Minos loved without 
sin, ibid. 127 ; because of his 
righteousness on earth, made a 
judge in Hades, Agam. 24 ; Thy. 
23 ; H. Fur. 733. See JUDGES IN 
HADES 

MINOTAUR, hybrid monster, born 
of the union of Pasiphae, wife 
of Minos, and a bull ; called 
brother of Phaedra, Hip. 174 ; 
confined in the labyrinth in 
Crete, ibid. 649, 1171 

MOPSUS, Thessalian soothsayer, 
Argonaut, killed by the bite of a 
serpent in Libya, Med. 655 

MULCIHER, name of Vulcan. Gave 
to Medea sulphurous fires for her 
magic, Med. 824 

MYCALE, witch of Thessaly, H. Oet. 
525 

MYCENAE, city of Argolis ; its walls 
built by the Cyclopes, Thy. 407 ; 
H. Fur. 997 ; ruled by the house 
of Pelops, Thy. 188, 561, 1011; 
Tro. 855 ; favourite city of Juno, 
Agam. 351 ; home of Agamemnon, 
ibid. 121, 251, 757, 871, 967, 
998 ; Tro. 156, 245 

MYRRHA, daughter of Cinyras ; 
conceived an unnatural passion 
for her father. Pursued by him, 
she was changed into" the myrrh 
tree, whose exuding gum resem- 
bles tears, H. Oet. 196 

MYRTILUS, son of Mercury, chariot- 
eer of Oenomaiis. Bribed by 
Pelops, suitor of Hippodamia, 
daughter of Oenomaiis, he secret- 
ly withdrew the linch-pins of his 
master's chariot, thus wrecking 
his master's car in the race which 
was to decide the success of 
Pelops' suit. His sin and fate, 
Thy. 140 ; the wrecked chariot 
preserved as a trophy in palace 
of Pelopidae, ibid. 660 



N AIDES, deities, generally conceived 
as young and beautiful maidens, 
inhabiting brooks and springs. 
Hip. 780. See HYLAS 

NAUPLIUS, son of Neptune, king 
of Euboea ; to avenge death of 

531 



INDEX 



his son, Palainedes, lured the 
Greek fleet to destruction by 
displaying false beacon fires off 
Euboea, Agam. *567 ; when 
Ulysses, whom he hated most, 
escaped, threw himself from the 
cliff, M ed. 659. See PALAMEDES 

NECROMANT!A, necromancy. Prac- 
tised by Tiresias in order to 
discover Laius' murderer, Oed. 
**530 

NEMEAN LION, slain by Hercules 
near Nemea, a city of Argolis, 
first of his twelve labours, Agam 
830 ; H. Fur. 224 ; H. Oet. 1193, 
1235, 1665, 1885; set hi the 
heavens as a zodiacal constella- 
tion, Oed. 40. See LEO 

NEPHELE, cloud form of Juno, 
devised by Jupiter, upon which 
Ixion begot the centaur Nessus, 
in the belief that it was Juno 
herself, H. OeL. 492 

NEPTUNE, son of Saturn, brother of 
Jupiter and Pluto, with whom, 
after the dethronement of Saturn, 
he cast lots for the three great 
divisions of his father's realm : 
the second lot, giving him the 
sovereignty over the sea, fell to 
Neptune, Med. 4, 597 : H. Fur. 
615, 599; Oed. 266; Hip. 904, 
1159 ; rides over the sea hi his 
car, Oed. 254 ; sends a monster 
to destroy Hippolytus in answer 
to Theseus' prayer, Hip. 1015 ; 
assists Minerva to destroy Ajax, 
son of Olleus, hi the storm which 
assailed the Greek fleet, Agam. 
554 ; father of Theseus, to whom 
he gave three wishes, ibid. 942; 
other sons were Cycnus, Agam. 
215: Tro. 183; Periclymenus, 
Med. 635 

NEREUS, sea-deity, used often for 
the sea itself, Oed. 450. 508 ; 
H. Oet. 4 ; Hip. 88 ; father by 
Doris of Thetis and the other 
Nereids, Tro. 882; Oed. 446; 
even they feel the fires of love, 
Hip. 336 

NERO (Octavia), son of Cn. 
Domitius Ahenobarbus and Agrip- 
pina, Oct. 249 ; married his step- 
sister, Octavia, whom he treated 
with great cruelty ; his character 
depicted by her, ibid. 86 ; em- 

532 



peror from A.D. 54 until his death 
in 68 ; murdered his mother, ibid. 
46, 95, 243 ; lauds beauty of 
Poppaea and proclaims her his 
next wife, ibid. 544 ; his death 
prophesied by ghost of Agrippina, 
ibid. **618 ; decrees banishment 
and death of Octavia, ibid. 861 

NESSUS, centaur, son of Ixion and 
Nephele, H. Oet. 492 ; insults 
Deianira, is slain by Hercules ; 
dying gives his blood, poisoned 
by the arrow of Hercules, to 
Deianira as a charm which shall 
recall her husband's wandering 
affections, ibid. *500 ; some of 
this blood is in Medea's collection 
of charms, Med. 775 ; the power 
of this blood tested by Deianira 
after she has sent the fatal robe 
to Hercules, H. Oet. 716; Nessus 
conceived the plot against Her- 
cules, Deianira the innocent 
instrument, ibid. 1468 

NIOBE, daughter of Tantalus, wife 
of Amphion, king of Thebes ; 
punished by the loss of her seven 
sons and seven daughters by 
Diana for her defiance of Latona, 
mother of the goddess, Agam. 
392 ; changed to stone, she still 
sits on Mt. Sipylus and mourns 
her children, Agam. 394 ; H. Fur. 
390 ; H. Oet. 185, 1849 ; her shade 
comes up from Hades, still 
proudly counting her children's 
shades, Oed. 613 

NYCTELIUS. epithet of Bacchus, 
because his mysteries were cele- 
brated at night, Oed. 492 



O 



OCTAVIA (Octavia), daughter of 
the Emperor Claudius and Mes- 
salina. Oct. 10, 26, 45 ; became 
first the stepsister and then the 
wife of Nero, ibid. 47 ; with 
whom she led a most wretched 
life, ibid. *100; had been be- 
trothed to Silanus, ibid. 145, who 
was murdered to make way for 
Nero, ibid. 154 ; beloved by her 
people, ibid. 183 ; is compared 
with Juno, sister and wife of 
her husband, ibid. 282 ; doomed 



INDEX 



by Nero to exile and death, ibid. 
868 ; banished to Pandataria, 
ibid. 971 

ODRYSIAN HOUSE, of the Thracian 
king, Tereus, polluted by the 
banquet in which Tereus' son 
was served up to him, Thy. 273 

OEDIPUS (Oedipus, Phoenissae), 
king of Thebes, son of Jocasta 
and Lalus. An oracle had 
declared that Lalus should meet 
death at the hands of his son. 
Oedipus was accordingly to be 
slain Oed. 34, 235 ; Phoen. 243 ; 
at birth was exposed upon 
Cithaeron, ibid. 13, *27, with an 
iron rod through his ankles, 
ibid. 254; Oed. 857; by a shep- 
nerd was given to Merope, wife 
of the king of Corinth, by 
whom he was brought up as 
her own son, ibid. 806; grown 
to manhood, fled the kingdom 
of his supposed parents that 
he might not fulfil an oracle 
that had come to him, that he 
should kill his father and wed 
his mother, ibid. 12, 263 ; in the 
course of his flight met and killed 
Lalus, his real father, Phoen. 166, 
260 ; Oed. 768, 782 ; solved the 
riddle of the Sphinx, and so saved 
Thebes from that pest, Phoen. 
120 ; Oed. *92, 216 ; as a reward 
for this gained the throne of 
Thebes, and Jocasta (his mother) 
as his wife, Oed. 104 ; Phoen. 50, 
262; Oed. 386; fl. Fur. 388; 
attempts to find out the murderer 
of Lalus, and utters a curse upon 
the unknown criminal, ibid. 
257 ; declared by the ghost of 
Lalus, which Tiresias had raised, 
to be his father's murderer and 
bJs mother's husband, ibid. *634; 
refutes this charge by the asser- 
tion that his father and mother 
are still living in Corinth, ibid. 
661 ; learns by messenger that 
Polybus and Merope are not his 
true parents, ibid. 784 ; rushes 
on his fate and forces old Phorbas 
to reveal the secret of his birth, 
ibid. *848 ; in a frenzy of grief 
digs out his eyes. ibid. 915 ; goes 
into exile, thus lifting the curse 
from Thebes, ibid. 1042 ; Phoen 



104 ; begs Antigone, who alone 

had followed him, to leave him, 

bewailing his fate and longing 

for death, ibid. 1 
OQYQES, mythical founder and king 

of Thebes ; hence 
OGYGIAN, i.e. Theban, epithet of 

Bacchus, whose mother was a 

Theban, Oed. 437 ; epithet of the 

Thebans, ibid. 589 
OlLEUS, used instead of his son, 

Ajax, Med. 662. See AJAX 
OLENUS, city in Aetolia, Tro. 826 ; 

Oed. 283 ; hence 
OiENiAN GOAT, nurtured in the 

vicinity of this place. See 

AMALTHEA 
OMPHALE, queen of Lydia, to whose 

service Hercules submitted for 

three years, H Oet. *371, 573 ; 

H. Fur. 465; Hip. 317 See 

HERCULES 
OPHION, one of the companions of 

Cadmus, sprung from the ser- 

Sent's teeth ; in adjectival form, 
; means simply Theban, H. Fur. 
268 ; referring to Pentheus, Oed. 
485. 

OPHIUCHUS, the northern constella- 
tion of the " Serpent Holder," 
Med. 698 

ORESTES (Agamemnon), son of 
Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, 
Agam. 196 ; Tro. 555 ; saved by 
his sister, through the agency of 
Strophius, king of Phocis, from 
death at the hands of his mother 
and Aegisthus, Agam. 910 ; 
avenged his father's murder, 
Oct. 62 ; Agam. 1012 n. 

ORION, said to have been miracu- 
lously generated by Jupiter, 
Neptune, and Mercury out of an 
ox's hide ; set as a constellation 
in the heavens, where his glitter- 
ing sword menaces the heavenly 
ones, H. Fur 12 

ORPHEUS, son of Apollo and the 
muse Calliope, Med. 625 ; king 
of Thrace ; Argonaut ; sweet 
singer and harper, whose music 
could draw to him rocks and 
trees, ibid. 228; H. Oet. *1036; 
dropped his lyre in fear of the 
Symplegades, Med. 348 ; played 
so sweetly that the Argonauts 
were not enchanted by the Sirens, 

533 



INDEX 



ibid. *355 ; went to Hades in 
search of his wife, Eurydice, and 
by the charm of his music 
persuaded the nether gods to 
release her ; lost her again, 
because he did not keep the con- 
dition imposed upon him, H. 
Fur. **569; H. Oet. *1061; 
M ed. 632 ; sang that nothing is 
everlasting, H. Oet. 1035, 1100; 
his death at the hands of 
the Thracian women, Med. *625 



PACTOLUS, river of Lydia, cele- 
brated for its golden sands, 
Phoen. 604 ; Oed. 467 

PAEAN, appellation of Apollo, who 
gained the oracle at Delphi and 
earned a place in heaven by 
slaving the Python, H. Oet. 92 

PALAEMON, once a mortal, called 
Helicerta, son of Athamas and 
Ino, changed by Neptune into a 
sea-divinity, Oed. 448. See INO 

PALAMEDES, son of Nauplius, king 
of Euboea ; put to death by the 
Greeks on false charges brought 
by Ulysses ; avenged by his 
father, who displayed false lights 
to the Greek fleet, Agam. 568 
ALLAS, appellation of Minerva. 
Friend and helper of Hercules in 
his labours, H. Fur. 900 ; bearer 
of aegis upon which was Medusa's 
head, ibid. 902 ; Agam. 530 ; 
patroness of woman's handi- 
crafts, Hip. 103 ; patron goddess 
of Athenians, ibid. 109, 1149; 
helps to overthrow Troy, Agam. 
370 ; stirs up storm against the 
Greek ships, ibid. 529 ; with 
Jove's thunderbolt destroys Ajax, 
son of Oileus, ibid. *532 ; hymn 
in praise of, ibid. 368-81 ; helped 
build the Argo, Med. 2, 365 

PANDATARIA, lonely island near 
Italy, Oct. 972 

PANDION, mythical king of Athens, 
father of Procne and Philomela, 
who were changed to birds, t. 8 

PARCAE, the three Fates, who spin 
out the threads of human life. 
H. Fur. 181, 559. See CLOTHO 
and LAOUESIS 

534 



PARIS, son of Priam and Hecnba 
Doomed to destroy Troy, Tro. 
36 ; exposed to die on Ida, but 
preserved by shepherds and 
brought up in ignorance of his 
parentage, Agam. 733 ; " judg- 
ment of Paris," Tro. 66, 920 ; 
Agam. *730 ; abducts Helen, Tro. 
70 ; slays Achilles, ibid. 347, 956 

PARRHASIAN (i.e. Arcadian) hind, 
captured by Hercules, his third 
labour, Agam. 831 ; bear, Hip. 
288 ; axis (i.e. Northern), H. 
Oet. 1281 

PASIPIIAE, daughter of the Sun and 
Persels, wife of Minos, king of 
Crete ; her unnatural passion for 
a bull, Hip. 113, 143 ; mother of 
the Minotaur, ibid. *688 

PATROCLUS, Greek chief before 
Troy, friend of Achilles ; fought 
in Achilles' armour, Agam. 617 ; 
slain by Hector. Tro. 446 

PEGASUS, winged horse, offspring of 
Neptune and Medusa, Tro. 385 

PELBOS, son of Aeacus, and king of 
Thessaly ; married the sea-god- 
dess Thetis, Oct. 708 ; Med. 657 ; 
father of Achilles, Tro. 247, 882 ; 
Agam. 616; Argonaut, died in 
exile, Med. 657 

PELIAS, usurper of throne of lol- 
chos, whence he drove Aeson, 
father of Jason. Proposed Ar- 
gonautic expedition, wherefore 
was doomed to suffer violent 
death, Med. 664 ; his daughters, 
tricked by Medea ? cut him in 
pieces and boiled him in order to 
rejuvenate him, Med. 133, 201, 
258, 475, 913 

PELION, mountain range in Thes- 
saly ; the giants piled Pelion 
upon Ossa and Olympus in 
attempt to scale heaven, H. Fur. 
971; Tro. 829; Agam. *346 ; 
Thy. 812 ; H. Oet. 1152 ; home of 
Chiron, who educated Achilles, 
H. Fur. 971; Tro. *830 ; fur- 
nished Argo's timbers, Med. 609 

PELOPIA, daughter of Tliyestes 
became by him mother of 
Aegisthus, Agam. 30, 294 

PKLOPS, was slain by his father, 
Tantalus, and served as a banquet 
to the gods, Thy. *144 ; restored 
to life, and Tantalus punished 



INDEX 



(see TANTALUS) ; Pelops and 
Tantalus, ibid. 242 ; his house 
doomed to sin, ibid. 22 ; degener- 
ate, ibid. 625 ; came from 
Phrygia and settled Pelopon- 
nesus (whence its name), H. Fur 
1165 ; Tro. 855 ; Agam. 563 ; his 
palace, Thy. *641 

PELORUS, promontory of Sicily 
opposite Italy, H. Oet. 81 ; 
Scylla dwelt under it, Med. 350 

PENTHESILEA, queen of Amazons, 
came to aid Priam ; armed with 
battle-axe and moon -shaped 
shield, Agam. 217 ; her struggles 
in battle, Tro. 12, 672 ; slain by 
Achilles, ibid. 243 

PENTHEUS, king of Thebes, son of 
Echion and Agave ; opposed 
worship of Bacchus ; spying upon 
his mother and her sisters, was 
torn in pieces by them in their 
Bacchic madness, Phoen. 15, 
363 ; Oed. 441, 483 ; his shade 
comes up from Hades, ibid. 618 

PERICLYMENUS, son of Neptune, 
who could assume various shapes; 
Argonaut, slain by Hercules, 
Med. 635 

PERSEUS, son of DanaS and Jove, 
H. Fur. 13 ; earned a place in 
heaven by slaying the Gorgon, 
H. Oet. 51, 94 

PHAEDRA (Hippolytus or Phae- 
dra), daughter of Minos, king of 
Crete, and Pasiphae, daughter of 
the Sun, Hip. 155, 156, 678, 688, 
888 ; sister of the Minotaur, ibid. 
174 ; of Ariadne, ibid. 245, 760 ; 
bewails her exile from Crete, and 
her marriage to Theseus, ibid. 
85 ; her unnatural passion for 
Hippolytus, ibid. 113, 640 ; is 
scorned by him, ibid. *671 ; 
confesses her sin to her husband 
and slays herself, ibid. 1159 

PHAETHON, son of Clymene and 
Phoebus ; driving his father's 
chariot, was hurled from the car, 
Hip. 1090 ; slain by Jove's 
thunderbolt, H. Oet. 854 ; a 
warning against ambition and 
impious daring, ibid. 677 ; Med. 
599 ; gave magic fire to Medea, 
ibid. 826 

PHAETHONTIADES, sisters of Phae- 
thon wept for him on the banks 



of the Po, and were changed into 
poplar trees, H. Oet. 188 

PHASIS, river of Colchis, Med. 44, 
211, 451, 762 ; Hip. 907 ; Agam. 
120 ; Medea named from the 
river, H. Oet. 950 

PHERAK, city in Thessaly, ruled 
over by Admetus, husband of 
Alccstis, Med. 663 ; here Apollo 
kept Admetus' flocks, H. Fur. 
451 

PHILOCTETES (Hercules Oetaeus), 
Thessalian prince, son of Poeas, 
friend of Hercules, H. Oet. 1604 ; 
receives bow and arrows of 
Hercules, ibid. 1648, to whose 
pyre he applies the torch, ibid. 
1727; describes death of Hercules, 
ibid. *1610 ; Hercules' arrows 
used a second time against Troy, 
Tro. 136 and note 

PHILIPPI, city of Thrace; there 
Antony and Octavianus con- 
quered forces of Brutus and 
Cassius, Oct. 516 

PHILOMELA, daughter of Pandion, 
king of Athens, sister of Procne, 
who had married Tereus, king of 
Thrace ; outraged by Tereus, she 
and Procne punished Tereus by 
slaying and serving to him his 
son Itys ; she was changed into a 
nightingale, who ever mourns 
for Itys, Agam. 670 ; H. Oet. 
199 ; Thracia pellex, used simply 
as a nightingale singing at sunrise 
and hovering over her young, 
H. Fur 149 

PHINEUS, king of Salmydessus in 
Thrace ; blind and tormented by 
the Harpies, Thy. 154 ; tormented 
in Hades, H. Fur. 759 

PHLEQETHON, fiery river in the 
lower world, Oed. 162 ; Thy. 73, 
1018 ; encircles the guilty, Hip. 
1227 ; the river over which 
Charon rows his boat, Agam. 
753 ; for Hades in general. Hip. 
848 

PHLEQRA, vale in Thrace where the 
giants fought with the gods, Thy. 
810 ; Hercules assisted the gods, 
H. Fur. 444 

PHOEBUS, one of Apollo's names ; 
most frequently conceived of as 
the sun-god, driving his fiery 
chariot across the sky, seeing all 

535 



INDEX 



things, darkening his face or 
withdrawing from the sky at 
sight of monstrous sin, lord of the 
changing seasons, etc., H. Fur. 
595, 607, 844, 940 ; Phoen. 87 ; 
Med. 728, 874; Hip. 889; Oed. 
250; Agam. 42, 816; Thy. 776, 
789, 838; H. Oet. 2, 680, 792, 
1387, 1439, 1442 ; his sister is 
Luna, or Phoebe, H. Fur. 905 ; 
Med. 86; Hip. 311; Oed. 44; 
the name frequently used of the 
sun, its light, its heat, etc., H. 
Fur 25, 940; Tro. 1140; Med. 
298, 768; Oed. 122, 540, 545; 
Agam. 463, 577 ; Thy. 602 ; H. 
Oet. 41, 337, 666, 688, 727, 1022, 
1581, 1624, 1699; intimately 
concerned in the affairs of men ; 
is grandfather of Medea, Med. 
512 ; father of Pasiphae", Hip. 
126, 154, 654, 889 ; lover and 
inspirer of Cassandra, Tro. 978 ; 
Agam. 255, 722 ; god of prophecy, 
giving oracles to mortals, Med. 
86 ; Oed. 20, 34, 214, 222, 225, 
231, 235, 269, 288, 291, 296, 719, 
1046 ; Agam. 255, 294, 295 ; god 
of the lyre, H. Fur. 906 ; Oed. 
498 ; Agam. 327 ; of the bow, H. 
Fur. 454 ; Hip. 192 ; Agam. 327, 
549 ; his tree is the laurel, Oed. 
228, 453: Agam. 588; Cilia is 
dear to him, Tro. 227 ; beautiful 
god of flowing locks. Hip. 800 ; 
worshipped as Smintheus, Agam. 
176 ; hymn in praise of, ibid. 310 ; 
slew Python, H. Fur. 454 ; 
exposed the shame of Venus, 
whence her wrath is upon his 
descendants, Hip. 126 : kept 
flocks of Admetus. king of 
Pherae, for a year, ibid. 296 

PHORBAS (Oedipus), old man, 
head shepherd of the royal flocks, 
tells the secret of Oedipus' birth. 
Oed. 867 

PHRIXUS. son of Athamas and 
Nephele, brother of Helle ; per- 
secuted by his stepmother, Ino, 
fled through the air with Helle 
upon a golden-fleeced ram ob- 
tained from Mercury, Tro. 1034 ; 
Helle fell into the sea (Hellespont), 
H. Oet. 776 ; Aegean Sea is called 
Phrixian Sea. Agam. 565 ; H. 
Oet. 776 ; Phrixus fared on alone 

536 



to Colchis, where he sacrificed the 
ram and presented to Aeetes its 
golden fleece, which was the 
object of the Argonauts' quest 
Med. 361, 471 

PIRITHOUS. son of Ixion, Hip. 1235 ; 
friend of Theseus; with Theseus 
attempted to steal Proserpina 
from Hades, ibid. 94, 244, 831 

PISA, city of Elis where the Olympic 
games were held, H. Fur. 840; 
Thy. 123 ; Agam. 938 

PISCES, zodiacal constellation of 
the Fish, Thy. 866 

PLEIADES, called also Atlantides. 
the seven daughters of Atlas and 
Pleione, three of whom, Electra. 
Maia, and Taygete, were beloved 
of Jove ? H. Fur. 10 ; a constella- 
tion which pales before the moon, 
Med. 96 

PLISTHENES, son of Thyestes, slain 
by Atreus, Thy. 726 

PLUTO, brother of Jupiter and Nep- 
tune, lord of the underworld, 
H. Fur. 560, 658 ; Oed. 256, 869 ; 
Med. 11 ; Hip. 625, 1240 ; H. 
Oet. 559, 935, 938, 1142, 1369, 
1954 ; " grim Jove," H. Fur. 
608; " dark Jove," H. Oet. 1705; 
obtained his kingdom by drawing 
lots with his two brothers, H. 
Fur. 833 ; his wife is Proserpina, 
ibid. 658 ; Theseus and Pirithoiis 
try to steal his wife, Hip. 95, are 
punished, ibid. 625 ; Hercules 
prevails upon him to give up 
Cerberus, H. Fur. 805; H. Oet. 
550 ; gives up Theseus to Her- 
cules, H. Fur. 805; Hip. 1152; 
uncle of Hercules, H. Oet. 328 ; 
and of Pallas, Hip. 1152 ; un- 
moved by tears, H Fur. 578 ; 
conquered by Orpheus' music, 
ibid. 582 ; his court and appear- 
ance, ibid. *721 ; wounded by 
Hercules, H. Fur. 660 

POLLUX, see CASTOR 

POLYBUS, king of Corinth, adopted 
Oedipus, Oed. 12, 270 ; his death 
announced, ibid 784 

POLYN1CES (Phoenissae), son of 
Oedipus and Jocasta ; cheated of 
the throne of Thebes by his 
brother Eteocles, fled to Adrastus, 
king of Argos, who made him his 
son-in-law. To avenge Polynices, 



INDEX 



Adrastus marched against Thebes 
with an army headed by seven 
chiefs, Phoen. 58, 320 ; Oedipus 
foretells this fraternal strife and 
the death of both, ibid. 273, 334, 
855; Polynioes remains at court of 
Adrastus three years, ibid. 370, 
*502; hardships of his exile, ibid. 
*586 ; appears before walls of 
Thebes, ibid. 387 ; Jocasta ap- 
peals to her sons, ibid. 434. See 
ETEOCLES 

POLYXENA, daughter of Priam and 
Hecuba ; the ghost of Achilles, 
who had been enamoured of her, 
appears to the Greeks and de- 
mands her sacrifice on Achilles' 
tomb, Tro. 170 ; Calchas ratifies 
her doom, ibid. 360; Helen 
announces this fate to her, and 
she receives it with joy, ibid. 
945 ; her death described, ibid. 
1117 ; leads in dance about the 
wooden horse, unconscious of 
her approaching doom, Agam. 
641 

POPPAEA (Octavia), one of the 
most beautiful and unscrupulous 
women of her time ; was first 
married to Rufus Crispin us, 
pretorian prefect under Claudius ; 
abandoned him for Otho, and 
him, in turn, she left to become 
mistress of Nero, rival of Nero's 
wife, Octavia, Oct. 125; influenced 
Nero to murder his mother, 
ibid. 126 ; demanded Octavia's 
death, ibid. 131 ; with child by 
Nero. ibid. 188, 591 ; her rejection 
by Nero prophesied, ibid. 193 ; 
her beauty lauded by Nero, ibid. 
644 ; her wedding with Nero 
cursed by Agrippina's ghost, ibid. 
595 ; her marriage, ibid. *698 ; 
is terrified by a dream, ibid. 
*712 

PRIAM, king of Troy ; in his youth, 
at the first taking of Troy, was 
spared by Hercules and allowed 
to retain throne, Tro. 719 ; 
views contending hosts from 
battlements of Troy in company 
with Astyanax, ibid. *1068; 
sues to Achilles for body of 
Hector, ibid. 315, 324 ; his city 
destroyed through power of love. 
Oct. 817 ; his death at Pyrrhus* 



hands, Tro *44 ; Agam. 655 : 
fell before altar of Hercean Jove, 
Agam. 448, 792 ; his death and 
former greatness, Tro. 140 

PROCNE, daughter of Pandion, wife 
of Tereus, king of Thrace ; in 
revenge for Tereus' outrage upon 
her sister, Philomela, served to 
him his sou, Itys, H. Oet. 192, 
953 ; Agam. 673 ; Thy. 275 

PROCRUSTES, robber of Attica, 
killed by Theseus, Hip. 1170 ; 
Thy. 1050 

PROETIDES, daughters of Proetus, 
king of Argolis ; counted them- 
selves more beautiful than Juno, 
and refused to worship Bacchus. 
Made mad by Bacchus, they 
thought themselves cows and 
wandered through the woods. 
Bacchus thus won favour of 
Juno Oed. 486 

PROMETHEUS, son of lapetus and 
Clymene ; gave fire to mortals, 
Med. 821 ; for this was bound by 
Jove's command to a crag of 
Caucasus, where an eagle fed 
upon his ever-renewed vitals, 
H. Fur. 1206 ; Med. 709 ; H. Oet. 
1378 

PROSERPINA, daughter of Ceres and 
Jupiter ; stolen away by Pluto 
and made his queen in Hades, 
Med. 12; H. Fur. 1105; was 
sought in vain by her mother, 
ibid. 659: Pirithoiis and Theseus 
attempt to steal her away from 
lower world, Hip. 95 

PROTEUS, son of Oceanus and 
Tethys, shepherd and guardian 
of the sea-calves. Hip. 1205 

PYLADES, son of Strophius, king of 
Phocis, one of Agamemnon's 
sisters ; accompanied his father 
as charioteer when Strophius 
visited Argos just after Agamem- 
non's murder ; they take Orestes 
away and so save him from death, 
Agam. 940 

PYROMANTIA, soothsaying by means 
of fire, practised by Tiresias in 
his effort to discover Laius' 
murderer, Oed. *307 

PYRRHA. sister of Deucalion, saved 
with him from the flood, Tro. 
1038. See DEUCALION 

PYRRHUS (Troades), son of Achil- 

537 



INDEX 



les and Deklamia, daughter of 
Lycomedes, king of Scyros ; bora 
on island of Scyros, Tro. 339 ; 
quarrelled with Ulysses inside 
the wooden horse, Agam. 635 ; 
slew old Priam, Tro. 44, 310 
PYTHON, huge serpent that sprang 
from the slime of the earth when 
the flood subsided ; slain by 
Apollo, H. OeL 93 ; Med. 700 



RHADAMANTHUS, son of Jupiter and 
Europa, brother of Minos ; was 
made one of three judges in 
Hades, H. Fur. 734 

RHESUS, king of Thrace, who came, 
late in Trojan War, to Priam's 
aid ; oracle that Troy could never 
be taken if horses of Rhesus 
should drink of the Xanthus and 
feed upon grass of Trojan plain 
was frustrated by Ulysses and 
Diomedes, Agam. 216 ; Tro. 8 



S 



SATURN, son of Coelus and Terra, 
succeeded to his father's kingdom 
of heaven and earth ; golden age 
was said to have been ia his reign, 
Oct. 395 ; dethroned by his three 
sons, Jupiter, Neptune, and 
Pluto, who divided up his 
kingdom ; kept chained in Hades 
by Pluto, E. Oet. 1141 ; Hercules 
threatens to unchain him against 
Jove unless the latter grant him 
a place in heaven, H. Fur. 965 

SCALES (Libra), zodiacal constel- 
lation marking the autumnal 
equinox, H. Fur. 842 

SCIKON, robber in Attica, who threw 
his victims over cliffs into sea ; 
was slain by Theseus, Hip. 1023, 
1225 

SCORPION, one of the zodiacal con- 
stellations, Thy. 859 

SCYLLA, one of the two shipwreck- 
ing monsters in Sicilian Strait, 
E. Fur. 376 ; H. Oet. 235 ; Med. 
350, 407 ; Thy 579. See CHARYB- 
DIS 

538 



SOYTHIA, a portion of northern 
Asia of indefinite extent ; its 
nomadic tribes, frozen streams, 
H. Fur. *533 

SEMELE, Theban princess, daughter 
of Cadmus, beloved of Jove, by 
whom she became mother of 
Bacchus, H. Fur. 16 ; was blasted 
by a thunderbolt while Bacchus 
was still unborn, H. Fur. 457 ; 
H. Oet. 1804. See BACCHUS 

SENECA (Octavia), introduced into 
the play as Nero's counsellor, 
Oct. 377 ; recalls his life in exile 
in Corsica, and considers it 
happier and safer than his 
present life, ibid. 381 ; strives 
in vain to prevent marriage of 
Nero and Poppaea, ibid. 695 

SERES, nation of Asia, supposed to 
be the Chinese ; they gather silken 
threads (spun by the silkworm) 
from trees, H. Oet. 666; Hip 
389 ; Thy. 379 

SILANUS, L. Junius, praetor in 
A.D. 49 ; was betrothed to 
Octavia, but slain that Octavia 
might marry Nero, Oct. 145 

SILENUS, demigod, foster-father and 
constant attendant of Bacchus, 
Oed. 429 

SINIS, giant robber of the Isthmus 
of Corinth, who bent d9wn tree- 
tops and, fixing his victims to 
these, shot them through the 
air ; was slain by Theseus, H 
Oet. 1393 ; Hip. 1169, 1223 

SIN ON, Greek warrior, who deceived 
the Trojans as to character and 
purpose of wooden horse, and so 
procured downfall of Troy, Tro. 
39 ; Agam. *626 

SIPYLUS, mountain in Phrygia, on 
which Niobe, changed to stone, 
was said to sit and weep eternally 
over her lost children, H. Oet. 
185; Agam. 394; H. Fur. 391. 
See NIOBE 

SIRENS, mythical maidens dwelling 
on an island of the ocean, whose 
beautiful singing lured sailors to 
destruction, H. Oet. 190 ; were 
passed in safety by Argonauts 
because Orpheus played sweeter 
music Med. 355 

SISYPHUS, son of Aeolus, founder 
of ancient Corinth father of 



INDEX 



Creon, Med. 512, 776 ; Oed. 282 ; 
for disobedience to the gods was 
set to rolling a huge stone up a 
hill in Hades, which ever rolled 
back again, Med. 746 ; Uip. 
1230 ; Agam. 16 ; H. Fur. 751 ; 
Thy. 6; Oct. 622; H. Oet. 942, 
1010; the stone followed the 
music of Orpheus, ibid. 1081 

SHINTHEUS, epithet of Phoebus 
Apollo, Agam. 176 

SOL, the Sun personified as sun-god, 
H. Fur. 37, 61; Med. 29, 210; 
Thy. 637, 776, 789, 822, 990, 
1035 ; Hip. 124, 1091 ; H Oet. 
150 

SOMNUS, god of sleep, brother of 
Death, H. Fur. 1069 ; called son 
of Astraea, ibid. 1068 ; character- 
istics, symbols, and powers, 
ibid. *1065 

SPHINX, fabulous monster with face 
of a woman, breast, feet, and 
tail of a lion, and wings of a bird ; 
sent to harass Thebes, slaying 
everyone who could not answer 
her riddle, Oed. 246 ; Phoen. 120, 
131; Oedipus' encounter with her, 
Oed. *92 ; slain by Oedipus, ibid 
641 ; seen by Creon in Hades, 
called by him the " Oeygian 
(i.e. Boeotian or Theban) pest, 
ibid. 589 ; type of winged speed, 
Phoen. 422 

STROPH1US (Agamemnon), see 
PYLADES 

STYMPHALIAN BIRDS, monstrous 
creatures haunting a pool near 
town of Stymphalus in Arcadia ; 
were killed by Hercules as his 
sixth labour, H. Fur. 244 ; Med 
783 ; Agam. 850 ; H. Oet. 17, 
1237, 1890 ; type of winged speed, 
Phoen. 422 

STYX, river of Hades, H. Fiir. 780; 
Oed. 162, over which spirits pass 
into nether world, river of 
death ; in Seneca, this conception 
is not confined to Styx, but is 
used of that river in common 
with Acheron, H. Fur. *713 ; 
Hip. 1180; Agam. 608; with 
Lethe, Hip. 148; H. Oet. 1161, 
1550 ; with Phlegethon, Agam. 
*750 ; by the Styx the gods 
Bwear their inviolable oaths, H. 
Fur. 713; Hip. 944; Thy. 666; 



H. Oet. 1066 ; cornea to mean 
death itself, H. Fur. 185, 558; 
most frequently the river signifies 
the lower world in general, the 
land of the dead ; so are found 
Stygian " shades," " homes," 
" caverns," " ports," " gates," 
" borders," " torches," " tires," 
etc., H. Fur. 54, 90, 104, 1131; 
Tro. 430 ; Med. 632, 804 ; Hip 
477, 625, 928, 1151; Oed. 396, 
401, 621; Agam. 493; Thy. 
1007; H. Oet. 77, 560, 1014, 
1145, 1198, 1203, 1711, 1766, 
1870, 1919, 1983; Oct. 24, 79, 
135, 162, 263, 594 ; Cerberus is 
the " Stygian dog " and " Sty- 
gian guardian," Agam. 13 ; Hip. 
223 ; H. Oet. 79 1245 ; the " deep 
embrace of Styx " is the pit 
which Andromache prays may 
open up beneath Hector's tomb 
and hide Astyanax, Tro. 520 ; 
the boat on which Agrippina was 
to meet her death is called the 
Stygian boat, Oct. 127 
SYMPLEGAUES (the " dashers "), 
two rocks or crags at entrance of 
Euxine Sea, which clashed to- 
gether when an object passed 
between them, H. Fur. 1210; 
H. Oet. 1273, 1380 ; escaped by 
the Argo, Med. 341, 456, 610 

T 

TAENARTJS, promontory on the 
southernmost point of Pelopon- 
nesus, near which was a cave, 
said to be entrance to the lower 
world, Tro. 402; H. Fur. 587, 
*663, 813; Oed. 171; Hip. 
1203; H. Oet. 1061, 1771 

TAGUS, river of Spain, celebrated 
for its golden sands, H. Fur. 
1325 ; Thy. 354 ; H. Oet. 626 

TANTALUS (Thyestes) (1), king of 
Lydia, son of Jupiter and the 
nymph Pluto, father of Pelops 
and Niobe, H. Fur. 390 ; Oed. 
613 ; Med. 954 ; Agam. 392 ; 
H. Oet. 198 ; because of his sin 
against the gods (see PELOPS) 
was doomed to suffer in Hades 
endless pangs of hunger and thirst 
with fruit and water almost 
within reach of his lips, H Fur. 

539 



INDEX 



*752 ; Hip. 1232 ; Agam. 19 ; 
Thy. 1011 ; Oct. 621 ; his sin 
and punishment, Thy. *137 ; 
H. Oft. 943 ; his ghost appears, 
describes his sufferings in Hades, 
and is incited by a fury to urge 
on his house to greater crimes, 
ibid. 1 ; Med. 745 ; type of out- 
rageous sinner, Thy. 242 ; he 
forgets his thirst In his grief for 
disasters which threaten his 
house, Agam. 769 ; forgets his 
thirst under influence of Orpheus' 
music, H. Oet. 1075 

TANTALUS (Thyestes) (2). one of 
the sons of Thyestes, great-grand- 
son of Tantalus (1), encourages 
his father to hope for reconcilia- 
tion with his brother Atreus, 
Thy. 421 ; slain by Atreus, ibid. 
718 

TARTARUS (also written TARTARA), 
strictly that portion of the lower 
world devoted to the punishment 
of the wicked, the abode of the 
Furies and of those like Tantalus, 
Ixion, etc., who are suffering 
torments, H. Fur. 86 ; Oed. 161 ; 
Med. 742 ; Oct. 965 ; usually, 
however, the lower world in 
general, whence ghosts come back 
to earth, Agam. 2 ; Oct. 593 ; to 
which Orpheus went hi search 
of his wife, Med. 632; H. Oet. 
1064 ; to which Hercules went to 
fetch Cerberus, H. Oet. 461 ; Hip. 
844 ; where was the palace of 
Dis, ibid. 951 ; Agam. 751 ; where 
Cerberus stands guard, H. Fur 
649 ; H. Oet. 1770 ; where are 
the " Tartarian pools," Hip 
1179 ; and so in general, H. Fur 
436, 710, 889, 1225 ; Oed. 869 ; 
Phoen. 144, 145; Thy. 1013, 
1071 ; H. Oet. 1126, 1119, 1514, 
1765, 1779 ; Oct. 223, 644 

TAURUS, second zodiacal constel- 
lation, the Bull : the bull (Jupiter) 
which bore Europa from Phoe- 
nicia to Crete, H. Fur 9, 952; 
Thy. 852 

TELEPHUS, king of Mysia, wounded 
by Achilles' spear, and afterwards 
cured by application of the rust 
scraped from its point, Tro. 215 

TEREUS, king of Thrace, whose 
feast upon his own son, Itys, is 

540 



called the " Thracian crime,' 
Thy. 56. See PHILOMELA and 
PROCNE 

TETHYS, goddess of the sea, used 
frequently for the sea itself, hi 
which the sun sets and from 
which it rises, Hip. 571, 1161 ; 
H. Fur. 887, 1328; Tro. 879; 
Med. 378 ; H. Oet. 1252, 1902 

THEBES, capital city of Boeotia, 
founded by Cadmus, H. Fur. 
268 ; its walls built by magic of 
Amphion's lyre, ibid. 262 ; fre- 
quently visited by the gods, 
especially Jove, ibid. 265 ; plague- 
smitten under Oedipus, Oed. 
*37 ; plague described, ibid. *125 ; 
a curse was on Thebes from the 
time of Cadmus, ibid. *709 ; 
conquered by Lycus, usurper, 
who slew Creon, father of 
Megara, H. Fur. 270 ; scene of 
the Hercules Furens, Oedipus, and 
Phoenissae (in part) 

THESEUS (Hercules Furens, Hip- 
polytus), king of Athens, son of 
Aegeus and Aethra, daughter of 
Pittheus, king of Troezene ; 
reputed son of Neptune, who had 
granted him three wishes, Hip. 
942, 943, 1252, the last of which 
he used against his son, Hippoly- 
tus, ibid. 945 ; went to Crete to 
slay the Minotaur ; his beauty, 
ibid. *646, 1067 ; finds his way 
out of the labyrinth by aid of a 
thread given by Ariadne, ibid. 
650, 662 ; fled with Ariadne, but 
deserted her on Naxos, Oed. 
488 ; was cause of his father's 
death, since he did not display 
the white sail on his return to 
Athens, Hip. 1165 ; married 
Antiope, the Amazon, who be- 
came the mother of Hippolytus, 
but afterwards slew her, ibid. 
226, 927, 1167 ; married Phaedra, 
ibid, passim ; went to Hades 
with his friend Pirithoxis, to 
assist in carrying away Proserpina, 
ibid. 91, 627; the two were appre- 
hended by Dis and set upon an 
enchanted rock which held them 
fast, H. Fur. 1339 ; Theseus 
rescued by Hercules, ibid. 806 ; 
H. Oet. 1197, 1763; Hip. 843; 
returns from Hades, ibid 829 



INDEX 



THESPIADES, fifty daughters of 
Thespiua, loved by Hercules, H. 
Oet. 369 

THETIS, sea-goddess, daughter of 
Nereus ; was given as wife to 
Peleus, Med. 657 ; Oct. 707 ; 
became by him mother of 
Achilles, Tro. 346, 880; Agam. 
616 ; to keep her son from Trojan 
War hid him disguised in girl's 
garments at the court of Lyco- 
medes, Tro. 213 ; this ruse 
discovered and exposed by Ulys- 
ses, ibid. 569 

THULE, farthest known land ; 
all lands one day will be known, 
and there will be no ultima Thule, 
Med. 379 

THYESTES (Thyestes, Agamem- 
non), see ATREUS 

TIPHYS, pilot of the Argo, Med. 
3, 318 ; his management of the 
vessel, ibid. *318 ; grew pale at 
sight of Symplegades, ibid. 346 ; 
death, *617 

TIRESIAS (Oedipus), prophet of 
Thebes, father of Manto ; at- 
tempts to discover the murderer 
of Lai us, Oed. 288 ; practises 
pyromantia, capnomantia, hiero- 
scopia, and later necromantia, 
ibid. *307 ; discovers by the last 
process that Oedipus himself 
slew Lalus, ibid. *530 

TISIPHONE, one of the Furies, who 
seems to appear to Deianira, H. 
Oet. 1012 ; seems to appear to 
Hercules, H. Fur. 984. See 
FURIES 

TITANS, sons of Coelus and Terra, 
one of whom was Hyperion, 
identified by ^mer with the 
Sun. Warred against one of their 
own number, Saturn, who had 
succeeded to his father's throne. 
Frequently confounded with the 
Giants, who banded together to 
dethrone Jove ; they piled up 
mountains in their attempt to 
scale heaven, but were over- 
thrown by Jove's thunderbolt 
and buried under Sicily, H. Fur. 
79, 967 ; Med. 410 ; Agam 340 ; 
fl. Oet. 144, 1212, 1309 in all 
other passages in Seneca Titan 
means the Sun, more or less 
completely personified as the 



sun-god, H. Fur. 124, 133, 443, 
1060, 1333; Med. 5; Tro. 170; 
Hip. 678, 779 ; Oed. 1, 40 ; 
Thy. 120, 785, 1095 ; Agam. 460, 
908; H. Oet. 42, 291, 423, 488, 
723, 781, 891, 968, 1111, 1131, 
1163, 1287, 1512, 1518, 1566, 
1575, 1760 ; Oct. 2. See GIANTS, 
PHOEBUS 

TITYUS, giant, son of Earth, who 
offered violence to Latona ; for 
this he was punished in Hades, 
where a vulture kept feeding 
upon his ever-renewed vitals, 
H. Fur. 756, 977 ; H. Oet. 947 ; 
Hip. 1233 ; Agam. 17 ; Thy. 9, 
806 ; Oct. 622 ; relieved for a 
while by music of Orpheus, H. 
Oet. 1070 

TMOLUS, mountain in Lydia, haunt 
of Bacchus, Phoen. 602 

TOXEUS, youth slain by Hercules, 
H. Oet. 214 

TRiPTOLEiMUS, son of the king of 
Eleusis, through whom Ceres gave 
the arts of agriculture to man- 
kind, Hip. 838 

TRITONS, sea-deities ; they sang the 
marriage chorus of Achilles, Tro. 
202 

TRIVIA, epithet of Diana, because 
she presided over places where 
three roads meet, Agam. 382 ; 
Oct. 978 ; applied by association 
to Luna, the heavenly manifesta- 
tion of Diana, Med. *787 

TROILUS, son of Priam, slain by 
Achilles, Agam. 748 

TROY, ancient city of Troas; its 
walls built by Neptune and 
Apollo, Tro. 7 ; first destroyed in 
reign of Laomedon, father of 
Priam, by Hercules and Telamon, 
because of the perfidy of Laome- 
don, Agam. 614, 862; Tro. 135, 
*719 ; its second fall was after 
ten years of siege by the Greeks, 
ZVo.74 ; her festal day turned out 
to be a day of doom, Agam. 
791 ; it was Sinon who destroyed 
Troy, by deceiving the Trojans 
about the wooden horse, ibid. 
615 ; mourning for the fall of 
Troy, ibid. 589 ; smouldering 
ruins as seen from the Greek 
vessels, ibid. 456 

TULLIA, daughter of Servius Tul- 

541 



INDEX 



lius, king of Home ; her impious 
Bin and its punishment, Oct. 
304 

TYNDARI-DAE, Castor and Pollux, 
sons of Jupiter and Leda, but 
falsely named from Tyndareus, 
husband of Leda ; their stars give 
help to sailors B. Fur. 14, 552 ; 
Oct. 208. See CASTOR, LEDA 

TYNDAJUS, Clytemnestra, Agam. 
897 

TYPHOEUS, one of the Giants who 
fought against Jove, Med. 773 ; 
Thy. 809 ; he is supposed to be 
buried under the island of 
Itiarime, H. Oet. 1155 

TYPBON, giant, apparently the 
same as Typhoeus, H. Oet. 1733 ; 
Oct. 238 

TYRRHENE, epithet applied to 
Phoenician pirates who attempted 
to kidnap Bacchus, Oed. 249 ; 
to the dolphin, because these 
pirates were changed into dol- 
phins by Bacchus, Agam. 451 ; 
to the Tuscan Sea, because the 
Etrurians were supposed to have 
been of Tyrrhenian stock, Oct. 
311 ; to Inarime, an island, 
possibly to be identified with 
Iscniii, lying in the Tyrrhene Sea 
off Campania, H. Oet. 1156 



ULYSSES (Troades), Tro. passim 



VENUS, goddess, sprung from the 
foam of the sea, Hip. 274 ; 
goddess of love, ibid. 417, 576, 
910 ; Oct. 545 ; mother of Cupid, 
Hip 275 ; H. Oet. 543 ; Oct. 697; 
called Erycina, because Mt. Eryx 
in Sicily was sacred to her. Hip. 
199 ; persecuted the stock of 
Phoebus (i.e. Pasiphae and 
Phaedra) because that god had 
published her amours with Mars, 
ibid. 124 ; cursed Messalina with 
insatiate lust, Oct. 253 ; effect 



upon the world which the ces- 
sation of Venus' power would 
produce, Hip. **469 ; has no 
existence, but is used as an 
excuse for men's lust. ibid. 203 ; 
used frequently for the passion 
of love, either lawful or unlawful, 
ibid. 211, 237, 339, 447, 462, 
721, 913 ; Agam. 183, 275, 927 ; 
Oct. 191, 433 

VIRGINIA, daughter of Virginius, 
slain by her father to save her 
from the lust of Appius Claudius, 
Oct. 296 

VIRGO, zodiacal constellation of the 
Virgin, Astraea, daughter of 
Jove and Themis, who left the 
earth last of all the gods on 
account of man's sin, Thy. 857 

VULCAN, god of fire ; forges thun- 
derbolts of Jove, Hip. 190 ; is 
pierced by Cupid's darts, ibid. 
193 ; father of Cupid and husband 
of Venud, Oct. 560 



ZETES, winged son of Boreas, who, 
together with his brother Calais, 
was a member of Argonautic 
expedition ; they were slain by 
Hercules, Med. 634 ; they had 
previously driven away the 
Harpies from Phineus, ibid. 
782 

ZETBUS, Theban prince, son of 
Antiope, niece of Lycus, king of 
Thebes ; he and his twin brother, 
Amphion, exposed in infancy on 
Cithaeron, but were saved by 
shepherds. Arrived at manhood, 
they killed Lycus and Dirce, his 
wife, on account of their cruelties 
to Antiope, and together reigned 
in Thebes. Reference is made to 
their rustic life in H. Fur. 916 ; 
the shade of Zethus comes up 
from Hades, still holding by the 
horn the wild bull to which he 
had tied Dirce, Oed. 610. See 
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TACITUS: DIALOGUES. Sir Wm. Peterson. AGRICOLA and 

GERHANIA. Maurice Hutton. 
TACITUS : HISTORIES AND ANNALS. C. H. Moore and J. Jackson. 

4 Vols. 

TERENCE. John Sargeaunt. 2 Vols. 
TERTULLIAN: APOLOGIA and DE SPECTACULIS. T. R. Glover. 

MINUCIUS FELIX. G. H. Rendall. 
VALERIUS FLACCUS. J. H. Mozley. 
VARRO: DE LINGUA LATINA. R. G. Kent. 2 Vols. 
VELLEIUS PATERCULUS and RES GESTAE DIVI AUGUSTI. F. W. 

Shipley. 

VIRGIL. H. R. Fairclough. 2 Vols. 
VITBUVIUS: DE ARCHITECTURA. F. Granger. 2 Vols. 

3 



Creek Authors 

ACHILLES TATIUS. S. Gaselee. 

AELIAN: ON THE NATURE OF ANIMATE. A. F. Scholfield. 3 

Vols. 
AENEAS TACTICUS, ASCLEPIODOTUS and ONASANDEB. The 

Illinois Greek Club. 
AESCHINES. C. D. Adams. 
AESCHYLUS. H. Weir Smyth. 2 Vols. 
ALCIPHRON, AELIAN, PHILOSTRATUS : LETTERS. A. R. Benner 

and F. H. Fobes. 

ANDOCIDES, ANTIPHON, Cf. MINOR ATTIC ORATORS. 
APOLLODORUS. Sir James G. Frazer. 2 Vols. 
APOLLONIUS RHODIUS. R. G. Seaton. 
THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS. Kirsopp Lake. 2 Vols. 
APPIAN: ROMAN HISTORY. Horace White. 4 Vols. 
ARATUS. Cf. CALLIMACHUS. 
ARISTOPHANES. Benjamin Bickley Rogers. 3 Vols. Verse 

trans. 

ARISTOTLE: ART OF RHETORIC. J. H. Freese. 
ARISTOTLE: ATHENIAN CONSTITUTION, EUDEMIAN ETHICS, 

VICES AND VIRTUES. H. Rackham. 
ARISTOTLE: GENERATION OF ANIMALS. A. L. Peck. 
ARISTOTLE: HISTORIA ANIMALIUM. A. L. Peck. Vol. I. 
ARISTOTLE: METAPHYSICS. H. Tredennick. 2 Vols. 
ARISTOTLE: METEOROLOGICA. H. D. P. Lee. 
ARISTOTLE: MINOR WORKS. W. S. Hett. On Colours, On 

Things Heard, On Physiognomies, On Plants, On Marvellous 

Things Heard, Mechanical Problems, On Indivisible Lines, 

On Situations and Names of Winds, On Melissus, Xenophanes, 

and Gorgias. 

ARISTOTLE: NICOMACHEAN ETHICS. H. Rackham. 
ARISTOTLE: OECONOMICA and MAONA MORALIA. G. C. Arm- 
strong; (with Metaphysics, Vol. II.). 
ARISTOTLE: ON THE HEAVENS. W. K. C. Guthrie. 
ARISTOTLE: ON THE Sour/. PARVA NATURALIA. ON BREATH. 

W. S. Hett. 
ARISTOTLE: CATEGORIES, ON INTERPRETATION, PRIOR 

ANALYTICS. H. P. Cooke and H. Tredennick. 
ARISTOTLE: POSTERIOR ANALYTICS, TOPICS. H. Tredennick 

and E. S. Forster. 
ARISTOTLE: ON SOPHISTICAL REFUTATIONS. 

On Coming to be and Passing Away, On the Cosmos. E. S. 

Forster and D. J. Furley. 
ARISTOTLE: PARTS OF ANIMALS. A. L. Peck; MOTION AND 

PROGRESSION OF ANIMALS. E. S. Forster. 



ARISTOTLE: PHYSICS. Rev. P. Wicksteed and F. M. Cornford. 

2 Vols. 
ARISTOTLE: POETICS and LONGINUS. W. Hamilton Fyfe; 

DEMETRIUS ON STYLE. W. Rhys Roberts. 
ARISTOTLE: POLITICS. H. Rackham. 
ARISTOTLE: PROBLEMS. W. S. Hett. 2 Vols. 
ARISTOTLE: RHETORICA AD ALEXANDRTJM (with PROBLEMS. 

Vol. II.) H. Rackham. 
ARRIAN: HISTORY OF ALEXANDER and INDICA. Rev. E. Ilift'e 

Robson. 2 Vols. 

ATHENAEUS: DEIPNOSOPHISTAE. C. B. GULICK. 7 Vols. 
BABRIUS AND PHAEDRUS (Latin). B. E. Perry. 
ST. BASIL: LETTERS. R. J. Deferrari. 4 Vols. 
CALLIMACHUS: FRAGMENTS. C. A. Trypanis. 
CALLIMACHUS, Hymns and Epigrams, and LYCOPHRON. A. W. 

Mair; ARATUS. G. R. MAIR. 

CLEMENT of ALEXANDRIA. Rev. G. W. Butterworth. 
COLLUTHUS. Cf. OPPIAN. 
DAPHNIS AND CHLOE. Thornley's Translation revised by 

J. M. Edmonds; and PARTHENIUS. S. Gaselee. 
DEMOSTHENES I. : OLYNTHIACS, PHILIPPICS and MINOR ORA- 
TIONS. l.-XVII. AND XX. J. H. Vince. 
DEMOSTHENES II.: DE CORONA and DE FALSA LEGATIONS. 

C. A. Vince and J. H. Vince. 
DEMOSTHENES III.: MEIDIAS, ANDROTION, ARISTOCRATES, 

TIMOCRATES and ARISTOGEITON, I. AND II. J. H. Vince. 
DEMOSTHENES IV .-VI.: PRIVATE ORATIONS and IN NEAERAM. 

A. T. Murray. 
DEMOSTHENES VII. : FUNERAL SPEECH, EROTIC ESSAY, EXORDIA 

and LETTERS. N. W. and N. J. DeWitt. 
Dio CASSIUS: ROMAN HISTORY. E. Cary. 9 Vols. 
Dio CHRYSOSTOM. J. W. Cohoon and H. Lamar Crosby. 5 Vols. 
DIODORUS SICULUS. 12 Vols. Vols. I.-VI. C. H. Oldfather. 

Vol. VII. C. L. Sherman. Vol. VIII. C. B. Welles. Vols. 

IX. and X. R. M. Geer. Vols. XI.-XII. F. Walton, 

General Index, R. M. Geer. 
DIOGENES LAERTIUS. R. D. Hicks. 2 Vols. 
DIONYSIUS OF HALICARNASSUS : ROMAN ANTIQUITIES. Spel- 

man's translation revised by E. Gary. 7 Vols. 
EPICTETUS. W. A. Oldfather. 2 Vols. 
EURIPIDES. A. S. Way. 4 Vols. Verse trans. 
EUSEBIUS: ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY. Kirsopp Lake and 

J. E. L. Oulton. 2 Vols. 

GALEN: ON THE NATURAL FACULTIES. A. J. Brock. 
THE GREEK ANTHOLOGY. W. R. Paton. 5 Vols. 
GREEK ELEGY AND IAMBUS with the ANACREONTEA. J. M. 

Edmonds. 2 Vols. 

5 



THE GREEK BUCOLIC POETS (THEOCRITUS, BION, MOSCHUS). 
J. M. Edmonds. 

GREEK MATHEMATICAL WORKS. Ivor Thomas. 2 Vols. 

HERODES. Cf. THEOPHRASTUS : CHARACTERS. 

HERODOTUS. A. D. Godley. 4 Vols. 

HESIOD AND THE HOMERIC HYMNS. H. G. Evelyn White. 

HIPPOCRATES and the FRAGMENTS OF HERACLEITUS. W. H. S. 

Jones and E. T. Withington. 4 Vols. 
HOMER: ILIAD. A. T. Murray. 2 Vols. 
HOMER: ODYSSEY. A. T. Murray. 2 Vols. 
ISAEUS. E. W. Forster. 
ISOCRATES. George Norlin and LaRue Van Hook. 3 Vols. 

[ST. JOHN DAMASCENE]: BARLAAM AND IOASAPH. Rev. G. R. 

Woodward, Harold Mattingly and D. M. Lang. 
JOSEPHUS. 9 Vols. Vols. I .-IV.; H. Thackeray. Vol. V.; 

H. Thackeray and R. Marcus. Vols. VI.-VII.; R. Marcus. 

Vol. VIII.; R. Marcus and Allen Wikgren. Vol. IX. L. H. 

Feldman. 

JULIAN. Wilmer Cave Wright. 3 Vols. 

LUCIAN. 8 Vols. Vols. I.-V. A. M. Harmon. Vol. VI. K. 

Kilburn. Vols. VII.-VIII. M. D. Macleod. 
LYCOPHRON. Cf. CALLIMACHUS. 
LYRA GRAECA. J. M. Edmonds. 3 Vols. 
LYSIAS. W. R. M. Lamb. 

MANETHO. W. G. Waddell: PTOLEMY: TETRABIBLOS. F. E. 

Robbins. 

MARCUS AURELIUS. C. R. Haines. 
MENANDER. F. G. Allinson. 
MINOR ATTIC ORATORS (ANTIPHON, ANDOCIDES, LYCURQUS, 

DEMADES, DINARCHUS, HYPERIDES). K. J. Maidment and 

J. O. Burrt. 2 Vols. 

NONNOS: DIONYSIACA. W 7 . H. D. Rouse. 3 Vols. 
OPPIAN, COLLUTHUS, TRYPHIODORUS. A. W. Mair. 
PAPYRI. NON-LITERARY SELECTIONS. A. S. Hunt and C. C. 

Edgar. 2 Vols. LITERARY SELECTIONS (Poetry). D.L. Page. 
PARTHENIUS. Cf. DAPHNIS and CHLOE. 
PAUSANIAS: DESCRIPTION OF GREECE. W. H. S. Jones. 4 

Vols. and Companion Vol. arranged by R. E. Wycherley. 
PHILO. 10 Vols. Vols. I.-V.; F. H. Colson and Rev. G. H. 

Whitaker. Vols. VI.-IX.; F. H. Colson. Vol. X. F. H. 

Colson and the Rev. J. W. Earp. 

PHILO: two supplementary Vols. (Translation only.) Ralph 
Marcus. 

PHILOSTRATUS : THE LIFE or APOLLONIUS OF TYANA. F. C. 
Conybeare. 2 Vols. 

6 



PHILOSTRATUS : IMAGINES; CALLISTRATUS : DESCRIPTIONS. A. 

Fairbanks. 
PHILOSTRATUS and EUNAPIUS : LIVES OF THE SOPHISTS. Wilmer 

Cave Wright. 

PINDAR. Sir J. E. Sandys. 
PLATO: CHARMLDES, ALCIBIADES, HIPPARCHUS, THE LOVERS, 

THEAGES, MINOS and EPINOMIS. W. R. M. Larab. 
PLATO: CRATYLUS, PARMENIDES, GREATER HIPPIAS, LESSER 

HIPPIAS. H. N. Fowler. 
PLATO: EUTHYPHRO, APOLOGY, CRITO, PHAEDO, PHAEDRUS. 

H. N. Fowler. 
PLATO: LACHES, PROTAGORAS, MENO, EUTHYDEMUS. W. R. M. 

Lamb. 

PLATO: LAWS. Rev. R. G. Bury. 2 Vols. 
PLATO: LYSIS, SYMPOSIUM, GORGIAS. W. R. M. Lamb. 
PLATO: REPUBLIC. Paul Shorey. 2 Vols. 
PLATO: STATESMAN, PHILEBUS. H. N. Fowler; ION. W. R. M. 

Lamb. 

PLATO: THEAETETUS and SOPHIST. H. N. Fowler. 
PL/ TO: TIMAEUS, CRITIAS, CLITOPHO, MENEXENUS, EPISTULAE. 

Rev. R. G. Bury. 

PLOTINUS: A. H. Armstrong. Vols. I.-III. 
PLUTARCH: MORALIA. 15 Vols. Vols. I.-V. F. C. Babbitt. 

Vol. VI. W. C. Helmbold. Vols. VII. and XIV. P. H. De 

Lacy and B. Einarson. Vol. IX. E. L. Minar, Jr., F. H. Sand- 
bach, W. C. Helmbold. Vol. X. H. N. Fowler. Vol. XI. 

L. Pearson and F. H. Sandbach. Vol. XII. H. Cherniss and 

W. C. Helmbold. 

PLUTARCH: THE PARALLEL LIVES. B. Perrin. 11 Vols. 
POLYBIUS. W. R. Paton. 6 Vols. 

PROCOPIUS : HISTORY OF THE WARS. H. B. Dewing. 7 VoU. 
PTOLEMY: TETRABIBLOS. Cf. MANETHO. 
QUTNTUS SMYRNAEUS. A. S. Way. Verse trans. 
SEXTUS EMPIRIC as. Rev. R. G. Bury. 4 Vols. 
SOPHOCLES. F. Storr. 2 Vols. Verse trans. 
STRABO: GEOGRAPHY. Horace L. Jones. 8 Vols. 
THEOPHRASTUS : CHARACTERS. J. M. Edmonds. HERODES, 

etc. A. D. Ivnox. 
THEOPHRASTUS: ENQUIRY INTO PLANTS. Sir Arthur Hort, 

Bart. 2 Vols. 

THUCYDIDES. C. F. Smith. 4 Vols. 
TBYPHIODORUS. Cf. OPPIAN. 

XENOPHON : CYROPAEDIA. Walter Miller. 2 Vols. 
XENOPHON: HELLENICA, ANABASIS, APOLOGY, and SYMPOSIUM. 

C. L. Brownson and O. J. Todd. 3 Vols. 

XENOPHON : MEMORABILIA and OECONOMICUS. E. C. Marchant. 
XENOPHON: SCRIPTA MINORA. E. C. Marchant and G. W. 

Bowersock. 

7 



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